Things are starting to shake out a little bit in the Central.
W L PythW PythL RS RA Chicago Sox 34 17 30 21 224 184 Minnesota 29 20 28 21 222 187 Cleveland 24 25 24 25 196 198 Detroit 23 25 25 23 213 205 Kansas City 13 37 17 33 206 291
The class of the division are clearly the White Sox and Twins, who are running neck and neck for all Chicago’s gaudy win numbers. Detroit and Cleveland are both decent teams, but are clearly a level below the teams above them. They're also going in different directions, Detroit have been in something of a tailspin lately - despite a three game sweep of the Orioles - whilst Cleveland are starting to get their act together. Kansas City aren't looking to go anywhere positive and continue to be historically bad.
With almost a third of the season over, let’s pick the AL Central All Stars for the season to date.
A.J Pierzynski .263 .338 .460 Joe Mauer .307 .390 .431 Pudge .283 .294 .433 Victor Martinez .210 .280 .331The young Twin is outhitting his more illustrious rivals. Victor Martinez continues to struggle mightily at the plate, I'd have figured to be the best of this bunch before the season.
Paul Konerko .223 .336 .462 Justin Morneau .290 .342 .534 Ben Broussard .283 .335 .494 Mike Sweeney .308 .350 .533Mike Sweeney is having a Magpie-like season (all-star level efforts always in a losing cause), he may not be in Kansas City much longer, but he's doing them proud while he's still there. Justin Morneau is doing equally well, but I'm letting the old dog have his day.
Tad Iguchi .302 .355 .450 Nick Punto .292 .346 .400 Ron Belliard .293 .345 .473Very level performances here, I don't have a good feeling as to who is the better fielder so I'm going to follow the power.
Michael Cuddyer .263 .324 .369 Brandon Inge .311 .394 .489This one isn't close, it's not the best division for third sackers. For a guy who couldn't cut it offensively as a catcher a couple of years ago, Inge isn't doing so badly.
Juan Uribe .250 .277 .388 Jason Bartlett .242 .310 .374 Carlos Guillen .361 .414 .497Again not even close; if it wasn't for that pesky Tejada fellow, Guillen might be the best in the league. There is a huge step down to the rest of the shortstops in the division.
Jermaine Dye .228 .279 .462 Jacque Jones .278 .373 .430 Craig Monroe .267 .346 .453This is not a power position in the AL Central, Craig Monroe edges his way ahead of the others, and he can play center which gets him extra brownie points.
Scot Podsednik .284 .371 .320 Shannon Stewart .291 .348 .427 Rondell White .309 .331 .463 Coco Crisp .283 .347 .428I've always been a Shannon Stewart fan, but despite his lead in OPS I'm not picking him. Scotty Podsednik's edge in OBP, successful base stealing and fielding get him the nod.
Aaron Rowand .279 .337 .410 Torii Hunter .238 .305 .398 Nook Logan .301 .324 .378 Grady Sizemore .264 .303 .410 David DeJesus .274 .340 .394Torii Hunter has the reputation and makes the great defensive plays. I'm going for Rowand, although in a key defensive position I will admit, to my shame, I don't have a great feel for how good he is with the glove.
Lew Ford .275 .352 .386 Dmitri Young .273 .333 .494 Travis Hafner .269 .390 .429 Matt Stairs .265 .394 .479A second Kansas City hitter is going to make the team - that just doesn't seem right.
Chris Widger .347 .396 .551Middle Infielder
Juan Castro .271 .303 .435Corner Infielder
Matt LeCroy .261 .352 .435Fourth Outfielder
Lew Ford .275 .352 .386
Mark Buehrle L 85 48/15 3.07 Carlos Silva R 67 21/3 3.09 Jon Garland R 72.2 34/12 3.22 Jose Contreras R 60 47/24 3.30 Jeremy Bonderman R 67.1 56/20 3.48It's the what have you done for me lately approach here. No sentimental picks for former Cy Young award winners, or guys who wear their hats at a funny angles. Just the starters with the best ERA who have gone over 60 Innings (otherwise Kevin Millwood and Nate Robertson would be here). Give it another couple of years and Jeremy Bonderman is going to be horribly nasty (in a good way).
Arthur Rhodes 21.2 18/3 1.25 Damaso Marte 19 23/13 2.29
Jesse Crain 18.2 9/5 0.96 Cliff Pollitte 20.1 24/5 1.77 Rafael Betancourt 24.1 20/8 1.85 David Riske 22 16/5 2.05
Dustin Hermanson 21 15/6 0.00That is a heck of a bullpen.
Lineup: Bench: Podsednik L Widger R Guillen S LeCroy R Sweeney R Castro R Stairs L Ford R Inge R Mauer L Monroe R Belliard R Rowand R Rotation: Bullpen: Buehrle L Rhodes L Silva R Marte L Garland R Crain R Contreras R Pollitte R Bonderman R Betancourt R Riske R Hermanson R