AL Central Week in Review (July 29-August 4)

Jim McIsaac

Last week's action around the division, with the good, the bad, and the ugly from the Tribe and their rivals.

AL Central standings through Sunday, August 4:


AL Central Standings

W L PCT GB STRK
Detroit 64 45 .587 0 Won 8
Cleveland 62 49 .559 3 Won 2
Kansas City 56 52 .519 7.5 Won 2
Minnesota 48 60 .444 15.5 Won 3
Chicago 40 69 .367 24 Lost 10

(updated 8.5.2013 at 4:43 AM EDT)


Even though the Indians haven't been able to gain much ground in the division race, Cool Standings gives the Indians a 51.2% chance of making the playoffs and projects them to win 89 or 90 games, which is quite an improvement over a couple weeks ago. After the All-Star break the Indians were 6 games out of the second Wild Card spot, but if the regular season ended yesterday the Indians and Rays would be playing the AL Wild Card Game.

AL Wild Card Standings through Sunday, August 4:


American League Wild Card Standings

W L PCT GB STRK
Tampa Bay 66 45 .595 +4.0 Won 2
Cleveland 62 49 .559 - Won 2
Texas 62 50 .554 0.5 Won1
Baltimore 61 51 .545 1.5 Lost 2
Kansas City 56 52 .519 4.5 Won 2
New York 57 53 .518 4.5 Lost 1

(updated 8.5.2013 at 4:48 AM EDT)



I've taken the liberty of removing all the teams below New York in the Wild Card standings. Of the 15 teams in the American League, 6 (Seattle, LA, Toronto, Minnesota, Chicago, Houston) are thinking about next year already. Still, that leaves 9 clubs that still have at least a decent chance of making the postseason. That's one major reason why this past week's trading deadline was so quiet.

Detroit Tigers (5-0)

What before the season began looked like a possible World Series preview turned out to be a rout, as the Tigers swept the Nationals by a combined score of 16-2 in their two games. They then continued Chicago's misery by sweeping the weekend series, finishing off an undefeated (8-0) homestand. They capped off the sweep with an extra inning walk-off win, eliciting another subdued call by Hawk Harrelson.

Detroit goes into their series with the Indians on a roll, having won eight in a row, but they may suffer a blow today with the announcement of the Biogenesis suspensions. Jhonny Peralta, who is hitting .305/.360/.463 (121 OPS+), will likely be suspended for most of the rest of the regular season by MLB today, which is why they traded for defensive wizard Jose Iglesias last week.

Player of the Week: Alex Avila (.300/.364/.900, 3 H, 2 HR)

Player of the Weak: Austin Jackson (.176/.176/.353, 3 H, 1 HR) - shows how hot the Tigers are that the worst regular of the week hit a home run

Cleveland Indians (6-1)

The Indians began the week with home four-game series with the White Sox, and pulled off the rare sweep, winning two of the four games via walk-off homers. Jason Giambi started the fun on Monday night with a walk-off homer. The Indians then scored four runs in the eighth inning to win on Tuesday. Wednesday saw the Indians come back to tie the game in the ninth against closer Addison Reed, and win the game with a Carlos Santana walk-off homer in extra innings. Thursday's game was more conventional, with Justin Masterson shutting down the White Sox.

The Indians then flew down to Miami to play the young (but pitching talented) Marlins. The Tribe's eight-game winning streak ended with a thud on Friday night thanks to Jose Fernandez and poor defense and pitching, the Indians came back to win the series thanks to Michael Bourn's speed on Saturday and Scott Kazmir and the bullpen on Sunday. The Indians go into their series with the Tigers having won 10 out of 11.

Player of the Week: Ryan Raburn (.538/.571/.1.154, 7 H, 2 2B, 2 HR)

Player of the Weak: Asdrubal Cabrera (.167/.160/.208, 4 H, 7 SO)

Kansas City Royals (5-1)

The Royals more or less kept pace with the Indians and Tigers by only dropping one game this week. They swept the Twins in Minneapolis by a combined 18-7 record. They then took two out of three from the Mets in Queens. They opened their series with the Mets by dropping the opener 4-2 in the 11th inning, ending a 9-game winning streak. The Mets and Royals went into extra innings on Saturday, but this time it was the Royals that prevailed thanks to a Justin Maxwell (who was acquired last week from Houston) home run. They won the series in New York thanks to 6-2 victory on Sunday.

Though, like the Indians, the Royals haven't gained any ground on the Tigers, they are now right in the thick of the Wild Card race, and with the Tigers and Indians playing four games this week, have an opportunity to finally make some divisional headway against one of the teams ahead of them (or possibly both).

Player of the Week: Miguel Tejada (.421/.421/.474, 8 H, 1 2B)

Player of the Weak: Alcides Escobar (.048/.091/.048, 1 H)

Minnesota Twins (3-3)

After getting swept by Kansas City at home to start the week, the Twins got to play the Houston, baseball's worst team, and they took full advantage of it, sweeping the hapless Astros, though it wasn't easy. On Friday they scored a tying run in the ninth, then Brian Dozier's 13th-inning home run made the Twins a walk-off winner. On Saturday they scored 3 7th-inning runs to take the lead and held on to win 6-4. Then on Sunday Oswaldo Arcia's seventh inning homer gave the Twins a 3-2 win.

Player of the Week: Brian Dozier (.400/.471/.733, 6 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR)

Player of the Weak: Trevor Plouffe (.105/.190/.158, 2 H, 1 2B)

Chicago White Sox (0-7)

The White Sox are reeling, though it wasn't helped that they've played the hottest teams in baseball lately. They suffered a four-game sweep in Cleveland, then followed that up with a weekend sweep at the hands of the Tigers. In the midst of this they traded Jake Peavy to Boston as part of a three-way deal, getting Avisail Garcia from Detroit and three low-level prospects from Boston in the deal. They should still remain active in the trade market because several of their potential trade chips should pass through waivers easily thanks to their high salaries.

Player of the Week: Adam Dunn (.304/.360/.391, 7 H, 2 2B)

Player of the Weak: Conor Gillaspie (.118/.118/.118, 2 H, 2 SO)

2013 Player Power Poll

Pitchers:

1) Chris Sale (CHW) 142.0 IP, 2.92 ERA, 1.049 WHIP, 9.8 SO/9, 2.0 BB/9, 147 ERA+, 4.9 bWAR

2) Max Scherzer (DET) 151.1 IP, 2.85 ERA, .912 WHIP, 10.1 SO/9, 2.0 BB/9, 4.9 bWAR

3) Anibal Sanchez (DET) 111.0 IP, 2.59 ERA, 1.180 WHIP, 9.7 SO/9, 2.8 BB/9, 3.4 bWAR

4) Jose Quintana (CHW) 131.2 IP, 3.62 ERA, 1.230 WHIP, 7.2 SO/9, 2.7 BB/9, 3.4 bWAR

5) Justin Masterson (CLE) 156.2 IP, 3.33 ERA, 1.155 WHIP, 9.2 SO/9, 3.3 BB/9, 2.9 bWAR

Hitters:

1) Miguel Cabrera (DET) (.360/.455/.668), 204 RC+, 138 H, 78 R, 99 RBI

2) Jason Kipnis (CLE) (.295/.375/.497), 144 RC+, 111 H, 57 R, 68 RBI

3) Joe Mauer (MIN) (.321/.403/.464), 140 RC+, 125 H, 53 R, 38 RBI

4) Carlos Santana (CLE) (.272/.374/.453), 132 RC+, 98 H, 48 R, 48 RBI

5) Torii Hunter (DET) (.315/.349/.484), 127 RC+, 129 H, 66 R, 55 RBI


The Week Ahead

Indians: 4 vs, Tigers, 3 vs. LA Angels

Royals: 3 vs. Twins, 4 vs. Red Sox

Tigers: 4 @ Indians, 3 @ Yankees

Twins: 3 @ Royals, 4 @ White Sox

White Sox: 3 vs. Yankees, 4 vs. Twins

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