Jul 31, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Matt Tuiasosopo (18) right fielder Torii Hunter (48) and center fielder Austin Jackson (14) celebrate after the game against the Washington Nationals at Comerica Park. Detroit won 11-1. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Entering the first weekend in August, the Tigers own a 3 game lead over the Cleveland Indians and a 7.5 game lead over the Kansas City Royals. Going into this weekend, three of the four longest win streaks belonged to these three teams. The Royals had won 9 straight before their loss to the Mets, the Indians ha won 8 straight before their loss to the Marlins and the Tigers have won 6 in a row.
The past few seasons, the Indians and Royals have been known to make hot starts, but fade in the second half of the season. Last season, the Royals actually had the best record in the AL Central in August at 17-11, the Tigers ranked second at 16-11, and Cleveland finished dead last at a dismal 5-24.
With the Biogenesis suspensions looming, the Tigers are the only team affected with Jhonny Peralta’s days being numbered. All three teams made deals at the trade deadline. The Tigers were the most active with the acquisitions of Jose Veras from the Houston Astros and Peralta’s replacement for now and the future, Jose Iglesias from the Boston Red Sox. The Indians acquired Marc Rzepczynski from the St. Louis Cardinals. The Royals acquired Justin Maxwell from the Astros.
In August, the Detroit Tigers play the Chicago White Sox for 6 games, the Indians for 6, the New York Yankees for 3, the Royals for 5, the Minnesota Twins for 3, the New York Mets for 3, and the Oakland A’s for 4 games. The Indians play the Miami Marlins for 3 games, the Tigers for 6, the Los Angeles Angels for 6, the Twins for 6, the A’s for 3, and the Atlanta Braves for 3 games. The Royals play the Mets for 3, the Twins for 6, the Red Sox for 4, the Marlins for 3, the Tigers for 5, the White Sox for 3, the Washington Nationals for 3, the Tampa Bay Rays in a makeup game, and the Toronto Blue Jays for 2 games.
As of August 2, the Tigers have 56 remaining games, 28 at home and 28 on the road. The Indians have 54 remaining games, 25 at home and 29 on the road. The Royals have 57 remaining games with 30 of them at home and 27 on the road. The remaining strength of schedule’s for these teams have the Indians with the easiest in the AL, followed by the Tigers at 3rd easiest in the AL, and the Royals having the most difficult remaining schedule in the Central and the 8th most difficult in the AL.
For now, the Tigers have the AL Central lead and are picked by many to win the division. People still think that the Indians will fade down the stretch. Some think that the Royals may keep up their hot streak and surprise some people with their young players. What will happen is still to be seen, but as the playoff race heats up it will be interesting to see who stays hot and makes a run and who cools off and loses ground.