For the most recent week passed – Friday, June 28- Thursday, July 4:
- Detroit Tigers 46 – 38
- Cleveland Indians 45 – 40
- Kansas City Royals 40 – 42
- Minnesota Twins 36 – 46
- Chicago White Sox 34 – 48
POWER RANKING/WEEKLY RECORD
- Detroit Tigers 4 – 3
- Cleveland Indians 5 - 3
- Kansas City Royals 4 – 3
- Chicago White Sox 2 – 5
- Minnesota Twins 2 – 6
- The TIGERS nearly dropped to second in the power rankings for the first time all year…but what a difference two days makes. Scherzer-Verlander dominance and awakening bats powered a successful series across the border, keeping the Motor City Kitties atop the division and ranked slightly above the Tribe…It was good to see Alex Avila driving the ball with authority the opposite way – his work with Leon “Bull” Durham in Toledo seems to have paid off. His spray chart shows his BA is well over .300 when he takes the ball to left field – so let’s hope this develops into a consistent approach…Seeing Andy Dirks produce out of the number-2 spot on Friday makes one wonder if he should be considered to bat there more often. Dan Dickerson pointed out he seems more comfortable there – would a lineup of Ajax, Dirks, Cabrera, Prince, Hunter, Peralta, VMart, Avila, Infante work?…
- The INDIANS managed to climb into first place before hitting a wall in KC…Jason Kipnis was named Player-of-the-Month for June, reaching base in 35 consecutive games…As Cleveland’s starting staff begins to show it’s soft spots, the Tribe will soon welcome back Zach McAllister, on the DL with a sprained middle finger. Barring a setback, he should be ready to rejoin the rotation after the break…If the Indians want to keep the Tigers in sight, they will still need to add an arm or two. Tradable starters are in short supply, so some familiar names have been floated to shore up the southpaw side of the bullpen – Charlie Furbush and Matt Thornton…
- The ROYALS split a 4-gamer in the Twin Cities before taking two of three from Cleveland…They had a concussion scare when All-Star LF Alex Gordon went butt-first into the fence, but he has been cleared to return to action…From @MrBrianKenny: In other news, James Shields has pitched 2 more outs allowing 1 fewer run than Max Scherzer. Oh yeah, he’s 3-6. What, no headlines?
- The WHITE SOX scored 18 runs in a doubleheader vs. the Indians – and lost both ends. They managed to score 11 runs over the next 5 games, and the clock is ticking toward the trade deadline, and decent bullpen arms such as Thornton, Matt Lindstrom, and All-Star Jesse Crain likely to be dealt.
- The TWINS likewise are waiting to find out who will still be aboard ship in August, while the starting pitchers are shuffled around like deck chairs on the Titanic… Samuel Deduno has provided some solid innings and is 4-3, with a 3.47 ERA and 1.25 WHIP…Josh Willingham had his knee scoped and is out 4-6 weeks, which is one less sellable piece for GM Terry Ryan; some interesting comments from Ryan can be read here…
LAST WEEK”S FOCAL POINTS:
- Will the Tigers starters round back into form, and will the team still be in first place after a tough 11-game road trip? Yes and Yes.
- The Tribe faces division rivals KC and Chicago, looking to close in on 1st place: Indeed they did, overtaking the Tigers – briefly.
- The Royals look to stay relevant by beating division rivals: Check – they won two series and sit just 6 games back.
- The Twins homestand vs. the Royals and Yankees: Not good, as the Yankees put up 29 runs in a 4-game sweep.
THIS WEEK, KEEP AN EYE ON:
- Tigers homestand before the break – welcoming the struggling Sox for their first encounters of the season, then nemesis Texas.
- The streaky Indians finish out the wraparound series with Detroit, then host the soaring Bluejays.
- The Royals face off vs. the dislikeable A’s before traveling to Yankee Stadium.
- The Twins are at Toronto and Tampa.
- The White Sox make their first visit to Comerica Park in 2013…