Sure, the right-hander is a veteran who has pitched previously in the postseason, but he also knows the importance of his effort with both the 2012 regular season and the White Sox American League Central lead dwindling to next to nothing. The White Sox enter Sunday's contest tied with Detroit in the loss column, although holding a one-half game lead over the Tigers.
Detroit has a home doubleheader with a struggling Minnesota team. So, if Jered Weaver and the Angels finish off their three-game weekend sweep on Sunday, then the White Sox could be in second place for the first time in two months or be tied with the Tigers for the division top spot.
The White Sox then return home for a seven-game homestand, beginning Monday against the Indians. They would like to go back on a winning note and with first place still in their grasp, not with a five-game losing streak.
"With this team, we know we're one good solid half-inning away from tearing open the game," said White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who finished 1-for-3 in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Angels behind his newly clean-shaven look. "We just have to be able to do that at some point. Games are winding down and you have to try and win as many as possible right now."
Sunday's key games to watch (all times ET)
White Sox (Floyd, 10-10) at Angels (Weaver, 18-4), 3:35 p.m. Preview >
Game 1: Twins (Diamond, 11-8) at Tigers (Scherzer, 16-6), 1:05 p.m. Preview >
Game 2: Twins (Walters, 2-4) at Tigers (Smyly, 4-3), 7:05 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.
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