The AL Central has always been noted as one of the worst divisions in baseball, but in the next month there could be a lot of AL Central talk. With three of the five teams in the division close in record and conveniently all playing each other in the next few weeks, teams could be shifting daily. For now, this how the AL Central stands.
Dave Dombrowski and the Detroit Tigers made some huge moves before the trade deadline on Monday night on their off day while sitting in first place.
The Tigers picked up Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante from the Florida Marlins for pitching prospect Jacob Turner, who just picked up his first win as a Tiger a couple of days prior.
Omar Infante left Detroit five years ago after shifting to the Atlanta Braves and then down to Miami. Infante was the second baseman years ago with Carlos Guillen at shortstop and Brandon Inge at third. Needless to say a lot has changed in five years, but Infante is back at second base for the Tigers.
Since the All-Star break Detroit has come back hot, going 8-3. Batters three through six in the lineup have been unstoppable. Austin Jackson and Quintin Berry are getting on base and Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Delmon Young and Brennan Boesch have been moving everyone around.
Detroit’s pitching staff is coming together a little more than during the first half. Justin Verlander leads the squad with 11 wins, Scherzer has nine and Porcello has seven.
As long as the Detroit Tigers lineup stays hot and the pitching staff can keep striking out the opposing team like they have been best in baseball at doing, Detroit will be okay.
To keep up with the Tigers, visit Motown Lowdown.
Chicago White Sox
Chicago had not been doing too well since the All-Star break. Before the break, Chicago was in first place with Detroit a couple of games back. After being swept by Detroit in three games and losing four of seven games before that, things have not been going the White Sox way — until taking the first two from the Twins this week and finding themselves in a tie for the division lead again.
John Danks, who is on the 15-day DL, is said to be coming back soon after throwing 20 pitches on the mound on July 24.
Chicago continues its series with the Minnesota Twins and has an important series against the Texas Rangers coming up that will determine whether they can stay near the top of the AL Central or start traveling downwards.
For more on the White Sox, visit South Side Hit Girl.
The Indians are currently in an important series with the Detroit Tigers. Cleveland is the only other team in the division besides the White Sox who are considered in the race for first.
After the All-Star break Cleveland has gone 5-7 winning one game out of each series with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Cleveland also picked up a versatile option to their lineup on Tuesday afternoon. Brent Lillibridge was acquired after Cleveland sent minor leaguer Jose De La Torre to Boston.
Look for Cleveland to be the team that is going to shake things up during the second half with the Tigers and White Sox.
Kansas City Royals
I will not “rag” on Kansas City because Detroit has been there before, but come on guys, 14 games below .500? I know the All-Star Game was in Kansas City and maybe distracted a little from the Royals struggle, but the Royals should be winning more games than they are. (Sound familiar, Tigers fans?)
It has been said for a long time that the Kansas City Royals minor league system is something to look out for, but it would be nice to see these young guys come up and make an impact especially since they have lost four guys in their pitching lineup to Tommy John surgery. They did make a pitching swap in the past week, trading Jonathan Sanchez to the Colorado Rockies for right-hander Jeremy Guthrie.
Since the All-Star break the Kansas City Royals have only won three games. Yes the Royals have only won three games out of 11.
Unless the Royals have a big turnaround soon, I have a feeling they will be competing for last place with the Minnesota Twins.
To keep up with the Royals, check out Drinking the Royals Blue-Aid.
Minnesota. Minnesota. Minnesota. You have a nice stadium, you have good looking Joe Mauer, what more do you need to win games?
The Twins have won only three games since the break, but are still waiting for the surge to get them out of last place.
Scott Baker was a big loss for the Twins after going under Tommy John surgery. Currently Carl Pavano, Matt Capps, Trevor Plouffe and P.J. Walters are all on the DL with no real set return date.
The Twins have a couple of big series with two of the teams in their division, the White Sox and Indians and then the White Sox again. If the Twins can pick up a few games on the Royals, who knows maybe we will see them in a race for the AL Central pennant.