AL Central Weekly Review
By Scott Byrne
June 26, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) hits a ball towards third base and is safe on an error by Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (not pictured) in the first inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
For the most recent week passed – Friday, June 21- Thursday, June 27:
- Detroit Tigers 42 – 35
- Cleveland Indians 40 – 38
- Kansas City Royals 36 – 40
- Minnesota Twins 35 – 40
- Chicago White Sox 32 – 43
POWER RANKING/WEEKLY RECORD
- Detroit Tigers 3 – 4
- Cleveland Indians 4 – 3
- Chicago White Sox 3 – 3
- Kansas City Royals 2 – 4
- Minnesota Twins 2 – 4
- The TIGERS starting pitchers have hit a rough patch, with only Max Scherzer able to deliver a quality start this week… Whether it was a faulty game plan, poor execution, or both, the starters failed to challenge Angels hitters inside; instead, they spotted a lot of soft stuff away, which the Halos gleefully chopped and blooped into every hole imaginable. Somebody certainly missed the memo that you need not throw Josh Hamilton a strike – the enigmatic slugger heated up against Tiger offerings that shadowed far too much of the dish…It was no surprise to learn that this plodding lineup, which leads the league in hits, walks, and OBP, is second in the AL with 71 double-play balls; however it was surprising to hear they trail the fleet Angels by eleven twin-killings…Prince Fielder went 20 games without a home run, hit one in three straight games, and now has gone 20 more games between dingers…CLOSER WATCH: The Jonathon Papelbon rumors are heating up – but Nick Castellanos, Avisail Garcia and Bruce Rondon? And on the hook for $40 million the next 3 years? No, thanks…Rondon in Toledo – 14 saves, 40 K’s, 13 BB’s in 30 innings…Many fans figured we should have held on to Quintin Berry and traded him for Mariano Rivera – alas, now that every organization has had another opportunity to employ Q and politely declined, he can rejoin his assault on the Mendoza line in Omaha…
- The INDIANS continued to play well, especially at home, and held their own at Camden Yards…Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir continued their unlikely resurgence. Kazmir giving up just 2 runs in 14 IP with 11 K’s, and Jimenez grounding the Orioles on two solo HR’s… Jason Kipnis again powered the offense, hitting a robust .550… Asdrubal Cabrera and Chris Perez were both activated in time for the weekend series vs. the Chisox…With the All-Star Break in sight, it would appear the Tribe will challenge Detroit into September.
- The WHITE SOX offense once again stranded Chris Sale – the lanky southpaw boasts a 2.75 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 104 K’s, but owns a 5-6 record thanks to the Hitless Wonders, circa 2013. The Pale Hose continue to lag the league in runs, hits, OBP, slugging, and OPS… Alexei Ramirez turned in a .407 mark and 4 SB, but Paul Konerko is starting to show his age, at .253 on the year with just 7 HR, he has sat out the past few games with a sore back…
- The ROYALS continue to spin their wheels, though closer Greg Holland had a nice week with 3 saves in 3 appearances, striking out 6 of 9 batters along the way…They also welcomed Jerrod Dyson off the DL, and he set the table nicely with a .429 AVG and 3 SB…Erstwhile Wolverine second sacker Chris Getz was shuffled off to Omaha to make room for Dyson…
- The TWINS thin starting staff was further depleted as Mike Pelfrey hit the DL with a strained lat; P.J.Walters didn’t make it out of the first inning in Cleveland on Saturday, allowing 6 runs on 6 hits and 5 walks…Oswaldo Arcia is on a roll with 3 multi-hit games in a row; for the year he is batting .286 and has an impressive .842 OPS…Joe Mauer is having by far his best season since his 2009 MVP campaign; .337 BA, .417 OBP, .505 SLG, an OPS+ of 154, and on pace for 20 HR. So how does he have only 26 RBI? Inconceivable!
LAST WEEK”S FOCAL POINTS:
- Tigers tough stretch against the 1st place Bosox and the underachieving Angels: A nice 3-out-of-4 weekend against Boston fizzled into a sweep by California.
- Will the Tribe keep the Tigers in their sights as they travel to Camden Yards? Indeed they did, and as the schedule lightens and they get some injured players back, they look to stay close in the rearview mirror for a while.
- Will the Royals string together wins vs. the struggling Sox? On the contrary, they lost 2 of 3 to Chicago, managing to give up 18 runs in the 3 games to the league’s worst offense.
- The Twins travel to Cleveland and Miami for a winnable stretch of games: And managed to lose two games in each host’s park.
THIS WEEK, KEEP AN EYE ON:
- Will the Tigers starters round back into form, and will the team still be in 1st place after the upcoming 11-game roadie?
- The Tribe faces division rivals Kansas City and Chicago on the road, looking to close further on 1st place.
- The Royals have division games on the slate also, looking to string together some wins and stay relevant in the race.
- Minnesota is at home vs. KC and hosting the Yankees for 4 games.