Cleveland are making things interesting.
CENTRAL W L PythW PythL RS RA Chicago Sox 75 47 70 52 568 488 Cleveland 70 56 71 55 596 520 Minnesota 67 58 67 58 551 506 Detroit 61 62 63 60 582 568 Kansas City 40 83 44 79 516 717
Chicago are looking fallible, and Cleveland are, finally, putting all the pieces together in August. The final few weeks of play in the Central should be considerably more interesting than they promised to be a few weeks ago, not that that's hard. The White Sox have had to deal with things not going there way for the first time this year, they have won just 7 games to 22 losses for the month as I write this, and have scored a miserable 58 runs while conceding 77. Cleveland's offense, which was terrible at the start of the season, has gone nuts scoring 115 runs in the month while the pitching has limited opponents to 76. That has been good for a 15 and 5 record and a significant reduction in the gap with the leaders. The question of course is, is it all too little too late for the Indians? I think it is, Cleveland will probably need a minimum of 95 games to win the divison, that means 25 wins from their remainings 36 games, that is a big ask. They do have an ace up their sleeve in that six of their remaining games are against Chicago. still, whilst I expect Cleveland to make the playoffs, it is via the Wild Card not the Divison title. Chicago have a little over half their remaining games left against teams under .500, if they can make some hay in those games they should have enough pitching to hang onto the division lead.
The Twins have staged something of a renaissance of late as well, just as they lose their talismanic center-fielder for the season, it's hard to see how they are going to climb over either of the top two in the standings let alone both of them. Detroit's season, which promised much, has never really got any momentum going as they have fluttered around the .500 mark all year, they seem set to spend the rest of the season playing kingmaker in the division, as the three clubs above them all have at least six games with the Tigers left.
Seattle 3 Texas 4 Detroit 8 Kansas City 6 Anaheim 3 Minnesota 8 Cleveland 6
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Two of the White Sox starters have not been pitching well in August. For a team that lives and dies by it's pitching, that's not a good sign:
IP H R ER HR BB SO DEC ERA* El Duque 19.0 15 12 11 1 6 14 0-3 5.21 Garland 25.2 34 16 15 4 6 14 1-3 5.26Scot Podsednik is travelling to Charlotte for a rehab assignment this weekend and is expected back with the big club on Monday. There are those who believe Posednik's absence has been the cause of the clubs offensive woes. We shall see....Freddy Garcia threw a one hitter and still lost to the Twins on Tuesday, he's the first player to do that since Ted Lilly for the Yankees in 2002.
Tampa Bay 4 Toronto 3 Detroit 6 Minnesota 6 Oakland 3 Kansas City 7 Chicago 6
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I noticed this on Primer this week, and it's worth repeating. According to the third order Winning percentage in BPro's adjusted standings, Cleveland are the best team in the AL. Makes me feel marginally less stupid for picking them to win this division.
W3 L3 Cleveland 72.7 53.3 Boston 71.4 51.6 New York 71.1 52.9 A's 70.5 53.5
Expect to read a lot more about Jhonny Peralta in the next few weeks. He is rocketing up the statistcal rankings and is beginning to be mentioned in MVP discussions. He is having a season to match the more publicised Brian Roberts, unlike Roberts though he has flown under the radar until now as he didn't put up great numbers at the start of the season. Roberts started out like lightning and has fallen off a little, whilst Peralta started slowly in April but is coming on strong in the middle going. Here's the OPS by month copmaprison:
Month Roberts Peralta April 1.185 .739 May 1.009 .967 June .942 .775 July .705 .971 August .665 1.046
Chicago 7 Texas 3 Kansas City 7 Cleveland 6 Texas 3 Detroit 6 Oakland 3
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The Twins are 8 and 2 in their last 10 and are just a couple of games back of Cleveland in putting the pressure on the Sox...Old friend Shannon Stewart jammed his shoulder making a catch against the wall on Tuesday and felt the joint pop in and out, the good news is it isn't a bad injury and he's just day to day...With Stewart and Hunter hurt and Jacque Jones on personal leave the Twins fielded old friend Brent Abernathy in left, Lew Ford in center and Michael Cuddyer in right yesterday...
Oakland 1 Boston 3 Cleveland 6 Chicago 8 Kansas City 7 Minnesota 6 Anaheim 4 Seattle 3
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Jeremy Bonderman has 14 wins, the first time a Tiger has won that many games since 2001...Bonderman left last nights game in the fourth after being hit on the wrist by a Scutaro line drive, he was in obvious pain - rolling around on the floor. Some body needs to get these guys some protection out there. The diagnosis for Bonderman is just bruising with nothing broken...Rondell White though is out for the season with a torn rotator cuff...Better news is that Carlos Guillen should be back with the next two weeks, he is down in Miami rehabbing right now, nice work if you can get it.
Boston 1 New York 3 Minnesota 7 Texas 4 Chicago 6 Detroit 4 Cleveland 7 Toronto 3
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My Mom always told me if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all.