ANAHEIM -- The good news for the White Sox on Friday was that they did not have a full game trimmed off their American League Central lead via their 6-2 loss to the Angels. Their advantage dropped to 1 1/2 courtesy of a rainout in the game between the Tigers and Twins in Detroit.
But the White Sox clearly have hit a rough patch on the road by losing three in a row to the Royals and now Mike Scioscia's crew. The challenge doesn't get any easier Saturday, with Dan Haren taking the mound for the Angels, followed up by staff ace and AL Cy Young candidate Jered Weaver on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Tigers will be taking on a Twins' squad with 88 losses.
Getting home on Monday should provide a boost for the White Sox, who are a .500 team on the road. But remaining in first place in the two-game interim stands as the goal at hand on the West Coast, especially after knocking out just five hits in Friday's loss to Ervin Santana and three relievers.
"We just keep playing," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "There's a lot of games left. It's a long season and all that kind of stuff. We are going to keep playing hard."
"You don't want to lose games at this point of the season, but it is what it is," White Sox right fielder Alex Rios said. "We're going to win and we're going to lose. Hopefully, we keep playing good baseball and we keep winning. We're not done. We go out every night and give everything we have."
Saturday's key games to watch (all times ET)
White Sox (Quintana, 6-4) at Angels (Haren, 11-11), 9:05 p.m. Preview >
Twins (Deduno, 6-4) at Tigers (Fister, 9-9), 4:05 p.m. Preview >
If the postseason started today ...
This is how the teams would match up: Postseason Bracket »
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.
A tiebreaker game will be played to determine a division winner, even if the tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tiebreaker is necessary, the head-to-head record between the clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.
If two clubs are tied for the two Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the clubs. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.
Tiebreaker rules »
2012 postseason schedule
Wild Card playoff games: Oct. 5
Division Series: Oct. 6-12
AL Championship Series: Oct. 13-21
NL Championship Series: Oct. 14-22
World Series: Oct. 24-Nov. 1