CLEVELAND — With the Cleveland Guardians still in first place as the 2022 MLB season nears its end, their magic number for clinching the American League Central Division is coming into focus.
With a 4-2 win over the second-place Chicago White Sox to complete a three-game series sweep on Thursday night, the Guardians trimmed their magic number from seven to five, as the game not only counted as a win for Cleveland, but also a loss for Chicago. The Guardians previously clinched the head-to-head season tiebreaker vs. the White Sox.
That means that any combination of Cleveland wins and Chicago losses that total five between now and the end of the season will result in the Guardians winning their first division title since the 2018 season.
Currently, the earliest that Cleveland can clinch the A.L. Central championship is Sunday, Sept. 25, which can only occur if the Guardians sweep their upcoming three-game series with the Texas Rangers, and Chicago also loses its Friday and Saturday matchups vs. the Detroit Tigers. Cleveland could also clinch on Sunday if it wins its first two matchups with Texas and Chicago is swept by Detroit.
Entering Thursday's 8:05 p.m. ET matchup with the Rangers, the Guardians lay claim to an 83-67 record and a seven-game lead in the American League Central Division with 12 games remaining on its schedule. The White Sox, meanwhile, possess a 76-74 record with 12 games of their own remaining.
More Cleveland Guardians coverage from WKYC:
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- Cleveland Guardians beat Minnesota Twins 7th straight time, 5-1 behind Shane Bieber
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- Ernie Clement scores from 2nd on wild pitch, Cleveland Guardians top Minnesota Twins 4-3