At The (Second) Quarter Pole: The AL Central
By Chris Hannum
The first quarter of the season saw a bizarro AL Central, where the bad teams won and the good teams lost. The second quarter has seen us moving on the road to normalcy. The Detroit Tigers, who weren’t particularly spectacular in the first quarter and weren’t particularly spectacular in the second quarter, remain tied for the division lead by virtue of not being particularly terrible during any stretch either.
Here’s how the division shook out after 41 games:
Cleveland Indians 26-15
Detroit Tigers 22-19
Kansas City Royals 20-21
Chicago White Sox 17-24
Minnesota Twins 14-27
And here’s how those teams have fared since:
Cleveland Indians 16-22
Detroit Tigers 21-19
Kansas City Royals 13-27
Chicago White Sox 22-18
Minnesota Twins 20-18
Both the Indians and the Royals have tumbled, though KC has fallen harder, faster and from a less lofty perch. Perhaps the Royals won’t challenge for a loss record this season, but things still look grim there in the short term. The Indians, on the other hand, are still in the thick of the race even if they have fallen back to the pack. Whether they have the talent (especially in the rotation) to stick around remains to be seen, but it would be silly to count them out while they still share the lead.
The Twins and White Sox have both begun to recover from their early woes, with the Twins particularly hot over the last 20 to 25 games. Both could still be factors in the race, since no one seems to be quite good enough to pull away. The bar seems set extraordinarily low in the Central this year, such that even a team which has underperformed as spectacularly as Minnesota still has a shot at the division crown. And if ever there was a year for a flawed Tigers team to make a run, this is certainly it.