(670 The Score) After a torrid stretch of play, the White Sox will now look to defend their standing as the best team in the American League and their division lead as they welcome the Twins to Guaranteed Rate Field for a four-game series starting Monday evening.
Chicago has gone 20-5 in its past 25 games, ascending to the top of the AL at 30-16, which is a half-game better than Tampa Bay (30-17). The White Sox lead the Twins (30-18) by one game in the AL Central as well.
The White Sox have had much of their success against a pair of division foes, going a combined 18-2 against the Tigers and Royals. Chicago is 2-4 against Minnesota this season.
"I know we still have some big games ahead of us,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Now we will try to do the same thing. We were very fortunate to do what we did against those two clubs.”
With first place in the AL Central on the line in September, the White Sox are about to play their biggest series since 2012, when they led the division for most of the season before fading out of contention late. Renteria sees an ultra-confident team entering the big matchup, as does third baseman Yoan Moncada.
“The next few series are important,” Moncada said. “We know that. But we have to keep on doing what we have been doing so far. The stuff we can control is going out there and playing the best we can.”
The White Sox’s plus-77 run differential is the best in the AL by a wide margin and the second-best in MLB, trailing only the Dodgers (plus-103). Their .810 OPS and 5.5 runs per game both lead the AL and rank in the top five in MLB.
"As far as I am concerned, the next 14 games we play are playoff games,” hitting coach Frank Menechino said. "I tell them, ‘These are playoff games, fellas.’ Let's go out and execute like it’s the playoffs, so when the playoffs do come, we're going to be the same."
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.