Chicago White Sox playoff tracker: Magic number down to 9 — but they trail the Houston Astros by 2 games for the No. 2 seed

The Chicago White Sox are closing in on their first American League Central title since 2008.

 <img alt="Tim Anderson holding a baseball bat: White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson throws up a "peace" sign for the cameras during a game against the Pirates on Sept. 1 at Guaranteed Rate Field." data-src="{"default":{"load":"default","w":"80","h":"45","src":"//"},"size3column":{"load":"default","w":"62","h":"35","src":"//"},"size2column":{"load":"default","w":"62","h":"35","src":"//"}}" src="" />   © Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune  White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson throws up a "peace" sign for the cameras during a game against the Pirates on Sept. 1 at Guaranteed Rate Field.    <p>Their magic number for clinching the division is nine after they <a href="">defeated the Boston Red Sox 2-1</a> on Leury García’s walk-off home run Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field, while the second-place Cleveland Indians lost 11-1 to the Milwaukee Brewers.</p> <p>Despite having all but sewn up their second consecutive postseason appearance, the Sox still have plenty to play for down the stretch: playoff seeding.</p> <p>MLB returned to its 10-team playoff format — five teams from each league — this year after expanding the field to 16 for the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. The three division winners will be seeded 1-3 based on records, while the two teams with the next-best records will earn the wild cards and play one game for the No. 4 seed.</p> <p>Here’s a look at the AL playoff picture.</p> <h3>1. Tampa Bay Rays</h3> <ul><li><b>Record:</b> 89-55</li> <li><b>Monday’s result:</b> Lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 8-1</li> <li><b>Next game: </b>at Blue Jays, 6:07 p.m. Tuesday</li> </ul><h3>2. Houston Astros</h3> <ul><li><b>Record:</b> 84-59</li> <li><b>Sunday’s result: </b>Beat the Texas Rangers 15-1</li> <li><b>Next game:</b> at Rangers, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday</li> </ul><h3>3: Chicago White Sox</h3> <ul><li><b>Record:</b> 82-61</li> <li><b>Monday’s result: </b>Off</li> <li><b>Next game: </b>vs. Los Angeles Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday</li> </ul><h3>Wild-card contenders</h3> <p>1. Toronto Blue Jays (81-63)</p> <p>t-2. New York Yankees (80-64)</p> <p>t-2. Boston Red Sox (81-65)</p> <p>4. Seattle Mariners (78-66)</p> <p>5. Oakland Athletics (77-66)</p> <h3>AL playoff matchups</h3> <p>If the season ended today, here’s a look at the playoff field entering Monday. Division Series are best-of-five.</p> <ul><li><b>Wild-card game: </b>Yankees/Red Sox at Blue Jays</li> <li><b>Division Series:</b> No. 1 Rays vs. No. 4 (wild-card winner); No. 2 Astros vs. No. 3 White Sox</li> </ul>   <button> Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. </button>

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