Apr 7, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Cleveland Indians right fielder Nick Swisher (33), third baseman Ryan Raburn (9), shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (13) and teammates high five after they beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Cleveland Indians defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 13-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

AL Central Roundup: Royals May Be Good, White Sox Not Hitting, Aaron Hicks Struggles

The AL Central Roundup will be a weekly Friday feature that provides a snippet of the goings on with the other teams in the division.

After two weeks of play the Tigers sit in second place in the American League Central with a 5-4 record (one game back of Kansas City). We all know the storylines for Detroit — the bullpen being terrible, Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter raking at the top of the lineup — but here are some opinions and bits as provided by the authors and editors of The FanSided Network‘s other AL Central blogs.

Michael Engel – Kings of Kauffman:

April 08, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Ervin Santana (54) delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Expectations are higher this year for the Kansas City Royals and through the first three series, they’ve been rising to the occasion, winning six of seven after an 0-2 start. The revamped starting rotation has paid off, as their starter has reached six innings in seven of nine starts. Billy Butler has two home runs and 11 RBI and Alex Gordon has a .978 OPS. Next up is a tough stretch of schedule where they’ll face Toronto, Atlanta, Boston and Detroit, which should tell a lot about how different this team is compared to past groups.

Matt Adams – Southside Showdown:

Apr 7, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox left fielder Dayan Viciedo (24) hits a walk-off home run to win against the Seattle Mariners in the tenth inning at U.S. Cellular Field. the Sox beat the Mariners 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The White Sox started off the season looking decent, albeit against teams without proven track records, and watched it catch up to them once they faced a reigning division champ in the Nationals. Their inability to hit with runners in scoring position has left them relying on solo homeruns to carry the scoring load, which needless to say isn’t always enough.  The pitching staff has been faring well despite the spotty run support even with John Danks beginning the season on the DL.  The Sox will enter the next week with two infielders that were recently thought of as utility players manning full time positions in Conor Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger due to an injury to starting second baseman Gordon Beckham.

Ben Noble – Puckett’s Pond:

Apr 6, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Minnesota Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks (32) scores the game-winning run on a single by Justin Morneau (not shown) in the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Twins defeated the Orioles 6 – 5. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The Twins sit at 4-5 after a week and a half of play, taking series from the Tigers and Orioles to begin the season before being swept by the Royals in three games. Aaron Hicks has struggled mightily after coming up from AA to begin the season as the Twins starting CF following the off-season trades of Denard Span and Ben Revere. He has two hits in 35 at bats, has struck out 16 times, and has walked just twice. The Twins boast one of the top minor league systems in all of baseball, however, and prospects have been raking.

Lewie Pollis – Wahoo’s on First:

The Indians had a great first couple games of the season, beating the revamped Blue Jays 4-1 and 3-2 in a pair of good, close games. Then came trouble: they lost five of their six subsequent games to the Blue Jays, Rays, and Yankees before a pair of storms washed out the second half of the home opening series. In each of those losses the Indians gave up 10 or more runs and/or scored one or fewer runs, but on the plus side the one win was a 13-0 rout of reigning AL Cy Young winner David Price and the Rays. So while it’s way too soon to panic, it hasn’t exactly been a fun week in Cleveland.

Tags: AL Central Detroit Tigers

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