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Who is leading the AL Central division?

We take a look at the race between the Guardians, White Sox and Twins in the AL Central heading into the playoffs.

Jose Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Guardians bats in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals lat Kauffman Stadium on September 07, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The 2022 MLB playoffs begin on Friday, October 7. The AL Central is still up for grabs as Cleveland Guardians attempt to hold their lead over the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins. The division has been back and forth between the Guardians and Twins, but the White Sox are still in the hunt.

AL Central standings, Sept. 13

  1. Cleveland Guardians: 74-65 —
  2. Chicago White Sox: 72-69 — 3.0 GB
  3. Minnesota Twins: 69-70 — 5.0 GB

Neither of these teams is as well-rounded as you want a playoff team. Cleveland has a banged-up pitching staff and will need some depth guys to step up as ace Shane Bieber can’t be expected to do everything himself. The same can be said for a lineup anchored by Jose Ramirez with a rag-tag group of teammates that lacks star power you hope to have in the playoffs.

The White Sox have a near-perfect blend of youth and experience in their pitching rotation. They’re led by young ace Dylan Cease, Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech. They have Lance Lynn and Johnny Cueto in the back end of the rotation to bring their experience. Their lineup is full of power hitters like Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada, Andrew Vaughn and Gavin Sheets. They have another shot at a playoff run if they can get healthy and get Tim Anderson back.

Credit where credit is due, Minnesota is going down swinging. The Twins were written off as they appeared to be rebuilding this year. They find themselves still in the running for the division lead with only 23 games left in the season. If Minnesota can get consistency from its bullpen, they can be a real contender for the playoffs. Carlos Correa at shortstop will bring playoff experience to this team and could be the difference maker for them. They need to do their best to stay healthy as they currently have Tyler Mahle, Chris Archer, Jorge Polanco and Byron Buxton on the IL.