Well we had a tough loss to the Cards last night. I don’t know what was worse about the game: the actual loss or having to watch Trever Miller rap himself on the cup with the baseball before he pitches. Mabe that’s something that pitchers do, but I’ve not seen it before and to be honest, it was sort of weird.
Regardless, with the All-Star Break quickly approaching, now seems as good a time as any to check on how things are shaping up in the A.L. Central and see the progress that could be made or lost in the next few weeks.
As of June 18th, 2011
1. Cleveland Indians (38-31) - The Indians are still in first after a rough start to the month of June. They entered this weekend’s series with the Pirates with a 4-11 June record. This has given the rest of the division a chance to catch up to them after their early season success. They have bounced back this weekend however, and look to sweep the Pirates this afternoon at home. The Pirates are playing .500 baseball right now* so it may be a sign of better baseball from the Indians. However, they’ve given up a lot of ground and could find themselves relieved of the number one spot before too long. Their next three series are against the Rockies, Giants, and D-backs who are the respective #3, #1, and #2 teams in the N.L. West and could very well be some very loseable games. If they don’t right the ship in these next few weeks, they could find themselves much farther south in the division than they’d like to be.
2. Detroit Tigers (38-33/1 game back) – The Tigers have taken advantage of the Indians’ early summer woes and gone 10-7 to rest only a game back of the Tribe. It will be interesting to see the reaction of the Indians if the Tigers end up getting several games ahead of them in the division. Will they fold and show that they’re not a legitimate threat to win the division? Or will they find a way to come back and stay atop the peak that has been primarily theirs this season? Regardless, the Tigers are playing pretty well and are going to make Cleveland prove that they belong. They’ll also face the D-backs and Giants in two of their next three series, with a make-up game against Toronto and a series against the Mets sandwiched in there as well. As I said before, The D-backs and Giants are playing pretty good ball right now and the Mets are hovering around .500 whilst sitting tied for third in their division. If the Tigers want to claim the lead in the A.L. Central, they’ll have to keep up the pace.
3. Chicago White Sox (34-38/5.5 games back) – The White Sox have gone 8-7 so far in June. This record isn’t heart attack-inducing, but it’s enough for them to also have gained ground on the aforementioned struggling Indians. They may have to play a little bit better than .500 ball to make up ground if Detroit keeps winning, but then again, baseball is a game of winning and losing streaks so who knows what will happen? The White Sox will face the Cubs, Naturals, and Rockies in their next three series. They have the opportunity to win against the Cubs who are, well….the Cubs, but the Naturals have won 8 in a row and the Rockies have won 7 of their last 10. It may be difficult for them to make a push in the coming week and a half.
4. Kansas City Royals (31-40/8 games back) – Ahh, our beloved Boys in Blue….how they play with our hearts. The Royals have been a disheartening 7-10 in the month of June which has been highlighted by the bitter 4 game sweep at the hands of the last place Twins. We haven’t really taken advantage of the Cleveland slide, but there are positive things to consider. As of Saturday night, the Royals are 4-4 on their mini-roadtrip through Los Angeles, Oakland, and St. Louis. Considering how torrid we’ve been on the road, playing .500 away from home is a good sign. We also have the chance to take the series from the Cardinals at Busch today, which would be a nice parting gift on our way back to Kansas City. The Royals will then face the D-backs, the Cubs, and the Padres in their next 3 series. Here is where I think the Royals can regain some momentum. The series against the Diamondbacks could go either way, but both the Cubs and the Padres are last in their division and are very winnable series in my eyes. The Padres have won 2 of their last 10 games. Let’s do some work here fellas!
5. Minnesota Twins (30-39/8 games back) – The Twins struggled in the early going but have picked up some steam in June which I’m sure gives the rest of the Central a queasy feeling in the pit of their stomachs. Minnesota is 13-4 in June and has won and/or swept the last 3 series they’ve played against division rivals. Uh-oh. The only good news is that the Twins will be playing two division-leading teams in their next three series. They’ll face the Giants, Brewers, and Dodgers. We all know that the Twins are typically in the hunt for the A.L. Central crown at the end of the season. Their early season faltering was a welcome surprise, but it looks like they might have started to figure things out. This early-June success could be the beginnings of a mad dash for the top of the division.
There’s your update on what’s going on in the A.L. Central. It’ll be interesting to see how things shape up as we approach the All Star Break. When I look at what the teams are doing in our division, it’s pretty obvious that we’re going to have to start winning some games and some series if we don’t want to find ourselves in the cellar at the break.
Boy, I hate the cellar.
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