What is wrong with the AL Central?

June 4, 2008

Ok, stop this madness right now! The American League Central is supposed to be the best in baseball.  They have been anything but that right now. 

Only one team has a record that is .500 on the road.  That team being the White Sox who are at 17-17 going into tonight’s games.  However they are currently on a 4 game losing streat, having lost 4 of their last 6, but they find themselves in first place. 

Minnesota has managed to pick themselves off the mat to get to 30-27.  They have done this with M&M leading the way.  Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau lead the team in all the major categories.  The young sluggers have been everything the Twins have wanted. Free agent aquisition Livan Hernandez has anchored the pitching staff with 6 wins and a 4.61 era.

Probably the most two disappointing teams have been the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers.  The Tribe are 10-15 on the road, 16-16 at home and have just recently broken a losing streak against the Texas Rangers in which they lead most of the game and blew a 5 run lead.  The Indians, who were picked by various experts to contend with the Tigers for the division, have only one .300 hitter, in rookie Ben Francisco.  Most of the line up has been inconsistent.  Slugger Travis Hafner has been non-existent(steroids anyone), Sizemore gets stuck at the top of the line up and strikes out too much for a lead off hitter, and there is really no one to protect the Tribe’s best hitter Victor Martinez.  Combine that with the up and down play of the pitching staff, and you have a struggling ball club.  With starters Fausto Carmona and Jake Westbrook on the 15 day DL list, things aren’t getting any better.

The Tigers spent more money then God this year, and have nothing to show for it.  They are 12-14 at home, 12-19 on the road and 24-33 overall. Their hitting has failed them, and their pitching has been less then average.  Justin Verlander their ace, has a 5.18 era, is 2-8 and has given up 8 HR’s in 12 games. Bonderman has given up 9 dingers in 12 games, with a 3-4 record, with a 4.29 era.

The bottom line is that someone has to win the division.  No one seems to want to, and everyone is falling apart.  The homer in me thinks that the Indians can turn it around to at least capture a wild card.  Quietly the White Sox and Twins are on the verge of running away with it.  My guess is that the Twins can hold on, but its gonna be a back and forth effort all year.  If anyone gets healthy and gets on a roll, look out.