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AL Central Race: Strength Of Remaining Schedule

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! put together the varying strength of schedule for baseball's contenders and, of course, included the Tigers and their AL Central foes who are nipping at their heels. Passan's take on the Indians and White Sox schedules are after the jump.

Detroit Tigers

Opponents’ winning %: .466
Home/road: 22/19
Off-days: Aug. 18, Sept. 8, Sept. 18
Games vs. teams over .500: 13 of 41
Key series: Cleveland, Sept. 26-28
Overview: The cakewalk through the dregs of the American League will be far more important to the Tigers than any of their acquisitions in July and August. Detroit doesn’t play one game against a team that would make the playoffs today, and its only games against teams with postseason aspirations are four against Tampa Bay and nine important ones against Cleveland.

Cleveland Indians

Opponents’ winning %: .478
Home/road: 22/22
Off-days: Aug. 25, Sept. 12
Games vs. teams over .500: 12 of 44
Key series: at Detroit, Sept. 26-28
Overview: Roster expansion will help the Indians more than anyone, as their 44-games-in-44-days stretch is the most taxing around even if it comes against a subpar slate. Especially problematic will be 17 games over the season’s final 16 days, the bookends being three at the Rangers and three at the Tigers. The Indians are only two games back of Detroit. Their schedule is running behind, too.

Chicago White Sox

Opponents’ winning %: .486
Home/road: 22/20
Off-days: Aug. 22, Aug. 25, Sept. 1, Sept. 19
Games vs. teams over .500: 19 of 42
Key series: Cleveland, Sept. 8-11
Overview: Were it not for the bumbling AL Central, the White Sox wouldn’t even be on this list. As it is, they’re a .500 team that’s just 3½ games out of first place, and if they can just figure out how to win at home (26-33 this season) they could make some noise. The most vital challenge: a four-game series against the Indians that will show whether the White Sox have the stuff of a contender.