For the most recent week passed – Friday, July 5 – Thursday, July 11:
- Detroit Tigers 50 – 41
- Cleveland Indians 48 – 44
- Kansas City Royals 43 – 46
- Minnesota Twins 37 – 52
- Chicago White Sox 35 – 53
POWER RANKING/WEEKLY RECORD
- Detroit Tigers 4 – 3
- Cleveland Indians 3 – 4
- Kansas City Royals 3 – 4
- Chicago White Sox 2 – 5
- Minnesota Twins 1 – 6
The TIGERS season of fits-and-starts continues…A strong weekend in Cleveland was tempered by a dismal series loss to the dreadful Chisox…Troubling still is the pitching staff’s reluctance to pound opponents inside. With a stable of power arms, the Tigs hurlers seem to prefer fooling batters than blowing them away. There was evidence aplenty in the Sox series, as guys that beg for the ball away (Alex Rios, Gordon Beckham, Dayan Viciedo, Alexei Ramirez, to name a few) repeatedly got outer-half fastballs that allowed them to extend their arms, and change-ups that speeded up their bats. Still not sure if this is questionable game-planning or poor execution – but a team that averaged a league-worst 3.6 runs and 8.1 hits per game coming into Motown rang up 22 runs and 43 hits in the 3-game set…This day in 2012, Detroit was 44-42, in 3rd place, 3.5 games behind. It took until July 20 to get their 50th win…The beanball tete-a-tete on Thursday may set an interesting backdrop to the remaining 16 games between the Pale Hose and Tigers…Ready to see more Matt Tuiasosopo and less Andy Dirks, platoon be damned. Some smart blogger on this site mentioned in February that Andy might be better as a trade bait than a full-time LF’er…Said blogger also thought Phil Coke was the best option at closer…
- The INDIANS got a boost from the MLB debut of starter Danny Salazar, who no-hit the hot-hitting Bluejays through five, en route to an easy victory over R.A. Dickey. His final line – 6 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 7 K’s…”Moneyball” poster-boy Nick Swisher was publicly embarrassed in the series finale vs. Detroit on Monday. With a career OPS+ of 118, Swisher is a decent player, but I am glad Cleveland is on the hook for $15 mil a year through 2016…
- The ROYALS continue to teeter on the brink of relevance, going 20-14 since early June…Eric Hosmer has heated up, hitting .319 with 8 HR, 20 RBI and 3 SB over the past 25 games…Still, the lineup features only 3 batters in plus OPS territory – Hosmer, Alex Gordon and Billy Butler – and speculation is already that the rejuvenated Ervin Santana could be dealt…
- The WHITE SOX scored 6 runs over 4 games vs. Tampa Bay and the Cubs – then hung 7 in the 8th inning vs. Verlander and the Tigers ‘pen on Tuesday…Josh Phegley made a splash in his first week in the bigs, belting dingers off David Price, Matt Garza, and Anibal Sanchez, a trifecta of hurlers talented enough to each have spun a no-hitter. Look for him to get the majority of starts behind the dish going forward, replacing the disappointing Tyler Flowers…Chris Sale will have a couple of days to convince All-Star manager Jim Leyland that this pitch was an accident. The commentary from notorious homer Hawk Harrellson and Steve Stone is very much spot-on and worth listening to…
- The TWINS have dropped 9 out of 10 and appear ready to sink below Chicago and settle into last in the Central…GM Terry Ryan said this stretch would dictate if they would approach the deadline as buyers or sellers; they will apparently pre-negotiate with Justin Morneau before putting him on the trading block. Why do I get the feeling Morneau will end up as a Yankee?
LAST WEEK”S FOCAL POINTS:
- The Tigers homestand before the break: A lackluster start, losing two sloppy games to Chicago.
- The streaky Indians: Remained streaky, losing 3 out of 4 to Detroit, but taking 2 of 3 from the Jays.
- The Royals vs. the A’s and Yankees: A young team a piece or two short, destined to finish .500
- The Twins vs. AL East stalwarts: As expected, a poor showing.
- The White Sox first visit to Comerica: A series win and seeds of angst planted – win-win for Chicago.
THIS WEEK, KEEP AN EYE ON:
It’s the All-Star Break – be back next week with a season review and second-half preview!