The American League Central has not been a very tight race over the past few years, with the Detroit Tigers running away with the division each of the past three years. Early on this season, they already hold a five and a half game lead over the second-place Chicago White Sox. Here’s a look at the division over the past week.
1. Detroit Tigers (21-12, 4-3 this week)
The Tigers came into 2014 as the favorite to win the division and so far this season they are playing like it. They took three of four from the struggling Houston Astros at home during the week, behind solid hitting by Torii Hunter, Victor Martinez, and Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera, who started the season a little slow and had himself a solid week. Highlighted by 4 for 5 night on Tuesday. Detroit followed up their week performance over the weekend by dropping two of three against Minnesota, despite a solid weekend from the pitching staff.
Player of the Week- Victor Martinez (9-28, 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 4 R)
2. Chicago White Sox (19-20, 4-3 this week)
So far this season, the offense has been there for the White Sox, but the pitching has been inconsistent. During the week, the Sox took two of three from their cross-town rival, the Chicago Cubs. The White Sox outscored the Cubs 16-5 in the three wins, which proved to be the combination of hitting and pitching that they need to have lasting success. Over the weekend, the White Sox lost two of three to the Arizona Diamondbacks, this time with the offense showing some inconsistency. After scoring nine runs in the series-opening win on Friday, they scored just three runs on Saturday and one run on Sunday.
Player of the Week- Gordon Beckham (11-32, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R)
3. Kansas City Royals (18-19, 4-3 this week)
The Royals had themselves a solid week as they continued to come back from a rough start to the year. Kansas City won two of three in San Diego to start the week, backed by big games by Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, and Danny Valencia. The Royals then moved on to Seattle, where they split a four-game series with the Mariners. After being stifled on Friday night by Hishashi Iwakuma, they came back with wins on Friday and Sunday, while they lost on Saturday night despite a solid performance by Yordano Ventura.
Player of the Week- Salvador Perez (10-27, 2 2B, HR, RBI, 5 R)
4. Cleveland Indians (18-20, 5-2 this week)
The Indians had themselves the best week of anyone in the division, hoping to rebound from a horrible start to the season. Cleveland won three of four at home against the Twins behind great starting pitching and clutch hitting, taking the final three games of the series, getting a combination of big offensive output and great pitching. They then moved on to take the three-game series over the weekend against the Rays, backed by resurgence of their offense on Friday and Sunday. Nyjer Morgan even had himself a big day on Sunday in Cleveland’s 6-5 win over the Rays.
Player of the Week- Mike Aviles (10-21, 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 2 R)
5. Minnesota Twins (17-19, 3-4 this week)
The Twins had a rough series early in the week, dropping three of four in Cleveland, but they bounced back by winning the series in Detroit over the weekend. Minnesota picked up a win on Friday night, 2-1, helped by seven shutout innings from Phil Hughes. After falling 9-3 on Saturday, the Twins got a 4-3 win on Sunday. Minnesota got big performances throughout the week by Eduardo Escobar, Chris Collabello, and Brian Dozier, while they had Phil Hughes, Kyle Gibson, and Samuel Deduno each have solid starts on the mound.
Player of the Week- Eduardo Escobar (8-23, 5 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R)