August 8, 2013
Let's Talk About the AL Central
Tigers: The Tigers are on one of their patented late season runs. Only this time it's actually come sooner than expected. Since the All-Star break the Tigers have reeled off 16 wins and just three losses. They've haven't lost a game since July 25th and right now they flat out own the 2nd place Cleveland Indians. And the rest of their schedule isn't exactly daunting. A few series against good teams like the A's and Red Sox and mostly series' against teams like the White Sox and Twins. And the way they own the Indians I'm almost ready to declare them division winners (cue up pessimistic RJBO claiming the Tigers will now lose 10 games in a row).
Indians: The Indians were a hot team coming into the Detroit series but once again because the Tigers own them, they are now six games out of first place in the division and they're also 2.5 games back of a wild card spot. The Indians quite frankly are too hot and cold for me. They go on winning streaks and then they drop three games in a row to Detroit. I'm also a big believer in if you can't beat your divisional opponents you'll probably won't go that far (unless you're the 2010 Giants and the Padres go on a long losing streak in September). Here's why I'm not a big believer in the Indians, their pitching is pretty meh. Chris Perez is still their closer even though I wouldn't trust him closing a door on a house. Francona over uses Rich Hill who gives up too many base runners. Their starters aren't exactly a stellar group compared to Verlander, Scherzer, Fister, and Sanchez. I honestly don't even like them to win the wild card in the AL.
Royals: The Royals right now are that cute team that's gone on a run but they're not really contenders. The Royals have won 13 out of their last 15 games and yet they are 8.5 games back of Detroit and 5 games out of the wild card. Only the Royals. Here's where I trust the Royals more than the Indians, they have better pitching. Shields is better than Masterson and the rest of the starting pitching is better than the Indians starting pitching. Oh and they have a better bullpen than the Indians and quite frankly a better bullpen than the Tigers. Are they contenders though? Since the All-Star break the Royals have benefited from a pretty easy schedule. Yes they took 3 out of 4 against the Orioles but Baltimore has been the only team they've played that's actually good. They play 8 games versus the Red Sox and Tigers in the upcoming two weeks. If the Royals can manage 4 victories out of those 8 games then I'll take them seriously.
And I'll actually have to take the AL Central seriously. One or two of these teams will eventually get squeezed out of both races. There's just too many other good teams in the American League for both the Royals and Indians to stay contenders. These next two weeks are going to be interesting though for the American League.