Through Saturday, The Detroit Tigers won 11 of 12 games. I should be happy. And I am.
Then the Tigers got shellacked, back-to-back nights. On Sunday night they took a pink-battered beatin' from the Minnesota Twins, 16-4. And then on Monday they went to Boston and got knocked around 7-1 thanks to a masterful complete game 6-hitter by Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. The ever-fickle Dice-K-o-meter just put its needle back from "totally gonna suck" to "he's a Hall of Famer for sure."
So that makes two straight losses after a 11-1 run. Combined, that's still 11 wins in 14 games. No panic, Tigers fans. Right? … Right!?
At 23-14, Detroit is still atop the American League Central — if this isn't baseball's most exciting division, you're lying on purpose and making Jesus weep — but barely. In second place, at 21-14, the Cleveland Indians are lurking a game behind, although they were two wins behind. (Hey, the math makes sense to me.) And it's not like the Tribe are making up any serious ground, as they have lost four of five games and are due for a couple of freak snowstorms, canceling at least half of their May schedule.
In third and fourth place are the previous two AL Central champs: the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins. Lingering at 18-16, the White Sox are biding their time until designated hitter Ji
Jim Thome returns from the disabled list. Then the South Siders just need to begin playing with some consistency.
But the team really in trouble is the Twins. Indeed, an 18-19 record isn't horrible — they'd be tied for second in the National League Central — but in a deep division, it's a deep hole out of which to dig. (Although they did it last year. Hey, let's steer away from that.) They designated pitcher Sidney Ponson for assignment, which is what any team looking to complete ought to do. They also dodged a bullet, even though first baseman and reigning MVP Justin Morneau couldn't dodge a funky bounce from a thrown ball that caught him in the nose, breaking it. However, the hockey-blooded Morneau missed no playing time. The real loss came behind the plate, as catcher Joe Mauer is out for at least 2-4 weeks with a quad strain.
Kansas City, at 12-26, misunderstood that "May Sweeps" was a television term.
Detroit will have to go through most of June and July without two key pitchers, starter Kenny Rogers and setup man Joel Zumaya. So while the competitive four teams atop the AL Central are all a little dinged up, look for Cleveland and Chicago to make up some early ground.
Aw, who am I kidding? Detroit should stay in first place for a while. I think.Powered by Sidelines