Well, we’re on to our second division. Er, no, that came out wrong.
Here are your AL Central standings as of 11:12 EST June 7:
CHICAGO WHITE SOX 38-19 (.667) –
MINNESOTA TWINS 33-22 (.600) 4
CLEVELAND INDIANS 26-29 (.473) 11
DETROIT TIGERS 26-29 (.473) 11
KANSAS CITY ROYALS 17-39 (.304) 20.5
Let’s examine each team:
Chicago - huh, best record in baseball. For years the statheads have been predicting the Sox would eclipse the Twins, and maybe this is finally the year. Surprisingly, it’s not the young hitters - the Sox are only league average in runs scored. It’s the pitchers, who sport a 3.52 ERA. The entire rotation has been solid, not a weak link among them, and Dustin Hermanson has been lights out as the closer. Surely the pitching cannot remain this good, but the hitting seems like it could improve to make up for it. Still much young talent here.
Chicago has scored 261 runs and allowed 216 runs, which would normally yeild a record of 34-23, so they have been moderately lucky in that regard.
Minnesota may give up the division crown, but if the season ended today they’d still be in the playoffs. The pitching has been just awesome; not only the best in the AL, but better than any team in the NATIONAL league, the one with an automatic out in the lineup. Wow. When was the last time THAT happened? Every pitcher has been good; the Twins have no weak links on the staff, and most of these guys are legitimate pitchers, so it’s not a big fluke. They need it though, as the offense has been a little on the weak side; that said, the team on base percentage of .336 is fourth in the league so the offense will likely score more runs. I actually think the Twins are a favourite to win the World Series.
Minnesota has scored 253 runs and allowed 206 runs, which would normally yield a record of 33-22, so they have been neither lucky nor unlucky.
Cleveland last year had a huge cast of awesome young hitters. This year they apparently surreptitiously replaced them with the Jimmy Fallon Fan Club; with 220 runs they are the worst offense in the league, easily. They simply can’t get anyone on base, and some of the regulars have been catastrophically bad; Casey Blake is bad, Victor Martinez has been a huge letdown, and someone needs to stick a fork in Aaron Boone. The pitching has been very good, and it’s a testament to their skill that the team’s still near .500. Man, look at these hard luck stories; Kevin Millwood’s 3.20 ERA has gotten him one win. Even though Jake Westbrook has been pounded like a pinata at an anger management camp, the Indians have the fourth best ERA in the league.
Cleveland has scored 220 runs and allowed 226 runs, which would normally result in a record of 27-28, so they’ve been unlucky by one win. Actually it comes out to 26.7 wins or something like that so who cares.
Detroit fans probably would have been thrilled with 26-29 LAST year when it would have come on the heels of 43-119, but now it’s just boring. The offense is mediocre, lacking baserunners, though the tough park makes it look worse than it really is, and the pitching’s about average; fifth best ERA in the league but again the park makes it look BETTER than it really is. So they’re kind of boring. Ivan Rodriguez suddenly can’t hit for crap, and at 1808 games played, for a catcher, this is a bad sign. Carlos Pena really needs to be replaced. IS Jeremy Bonderman the next big ace?
Detroit has scored 244 runs and allowed 250 runs, so they should be 27-28 like the Indians.
Kansas City - dear, dear Jesus. What can I say in analysis? They can’t hit and they need two kinds of pitching; right handed and left handed. They’re actually writing Terrence Long’s name in to the lineup on purpose. For the love of God, they have let Jose Lima start TWELVE GAMES!!! Here’s his line so far:
0-5, 8.39 ERA, 28 strikeouts, 27 walks.
The odds of Lima turning it around are, let’s be honest, absolutely zero. If the Royals were to keep him in the rotation for the rest of the year, which would be amazingly dumb but you never know, he has a good shot at being the worst starting pitcher in the history of baseball. Don’t the Royals have someone in AAA to give these starts to? Just to see if some kid can win a few games? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Kansas City has scored 230 runs and allowed 320 runs, which would normally result in a record of 19-37, so they’ve been slightly unlucky, but that’s like arguing over the number of deck chairs on the Titanic.