Adam Dunn hits his 400th career homerun against the Royals (photo: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE)

A.L. Central Week in Review


 

The White Sox went into last week with a 2 game lead over Detroit. Given that the Sox were heading out for a 7-game road trip and wouldn’t have a day off, holding their lead at 1.5 or 2.5 games and getting Paul Konerko back were solid goals for the week. Let’s take a look at the A.L. Central Week in Review:

 

Chicago: The Sox had four games in Toronto to start their week. Jake Peavy pitched 8 strong innings in the opener, but as has become habit, the offense gave him little support. Adam Dunn hit two solo blasts, but that was all the scoring the Sox could muster in a 3-2 loss. The support wasn’t much better Tuesday, but Jose Quintana and the bullpen made it work and the Sox evened the series. Wednesday the bats finally awoke, to the tune of 9 runs. The recently reacquired Dewayne Wise, who never has to buy a beer on the South Side, hit a home run, as did Dunn and Dayan Viciedo in the 9-5 victory. In Thursday’s finale, Francisco Liriano bounced back from a rough start and the Sox tied a season-high with five homers in a 7-2 win.

The Sox were in Kansas City next. Paul Konerko returned and did it in style, hitting a home run in his second AB. Chris Sale was left in at least one batter too long, allowing a 2-run double on his last pitch. Sale allowed a season-high 13 base runners as the Sox lost. Then Jake Peavy was a little off Saturday, failing to finish the 6th inning for the first time since May 15th. Konerko and Dunn each homered (Dunn’s was the 400th of his career), but the Sox also made 4 errors. The result was an ugly 9-4 loss. Quintana pitched well again Sunday, but the Sox couldn’t manage a hit until the 7th inning. They managed to tie the game in the 8th, but Jesse Crain gave up a series of hits, the Sox fell behind again, and like that, they were swept out of town.

Record for the week: 3-4

Player of the week: Adam Dunn – .269/.367/.769, 1.136 OPS, 7 H, 4 HR, 6 R, 7 RBI

 

Detroit: The Tigers week began in Minnesota. Monday’s game brought Anibal Sanchez’s third bad game in four starts since the Tigers got him from Miami. This time it was 5 runs on 12 hits over 5.1 innings in a 9-3 loss. Doug Fister helped Detroit rebound Tuesday by lasting 8 innings. He gave up 4 runs, but none of them were charged to him, as a pair of errors factored into the scoring. Meanwhile, the Tigers put up 8 runs on 13 hits, including 3 by Miguel Cabrera, as they pulled away in the later innings for a comfortable 8-3 win. In the rubber match Max Scherzer struck out 10 over 7 shutout innings. Cabrera hit his 30th HR of the year and Delmon Young hit his 13th, as Detroit rolled to another victory.

The Tigers returned home to host Baltimore for the weekend. In the opener, Justin Verlander wasn’t his best, going just 6 innings while allowing 3 runs, but Prince Fielder tied the game with a massive 2-run blast in the 6th and then put Detroit ahead with another 2-run shot in the 8th. Miguel Cabrera was on-base for each of those home runs and also hit one of his own in the 5-3 win. The bats didn’t make much noise Saturday and Detroit lost 3-2. Rick Porcello had the same 3 runs over 6 innings line as Verlander, but of course that’s a much better result from Porcello, who’s been shaky all season. Detroit shot out to a 5-0 lead Sunday, but Doug Fister was roughed up and the Tigers never scored another run, eventually dropping the game 7-5.

Record for the week: 3-3

Player of the week: Miguel Cabrera – .476/.577/.810, 1.386 OPS, 10 H, 2 HR, 7 R, 6 RBI

 

The Also-Rans:

 

Kansas City: The Royals took two of three from the A’s at home, highlighted by 7 shutout innings from Jeremy Guthrie Tuesday. It was a very low scoring series, K.C. outscored Oakland 8-5 over the three games combined. After that was a sweep of the White Sox. Billy Butler, in the midst of the best season of his career, hit his 25th home run Friday and Guthrie took a no-hitter into the 7th on Sunday. The sweep moved Kansas City, who has the best record in the division during August, into 3rd place.

Record for the week: 5-1

 

Cleveland: The Indians had another horrid week. They beat the Angels Monday, but then lost the second and third games of that series. Ubaldo Jimenez was shelled Tuesday; his ERA stands at 5.62, worst in the American League. The Tribe traveled up the coast to Oakland for the weekend, where they were outscored 21-9 over three games, all of which they lost. Not only are the Indians 10-26 since the All-Star break, they also have the worst record in the AL going all the way back to May 1st.

Record for the week: 1-5

 

Minnesota: The Twins started their week by beating the Tigers, but it was all downhill after that. They lost the next two to Detroit, with the only real bright spot being Josh Willingham 30th home run, which made him the first Twin since 2009 to hit that many. Minnesota was off to Seattle next, where they managed to score just 6 runs the entire weekend, and were swept. The Twins have lost 9 of their last 10 and have the worst record in the American League.

Record for the week: 1-5

 

The short of it: The Sox had a frustrating weekend, but Konerko returned to the field and looked good doing it, and Detroit wasn’t able to capitalize on things and still sits 1.5 games back. It’s not a comfortable lead, but 1st place is a good thing by any margin. The Sox will be happy to get home, though having the Yankees roll into town can’t be particularly comforting.

 

A.L. Central Standings (through Sunday, August 19th):

W-L

GB

RS

RA

DIFF

Chicago

65-55

-

564

500

+64

Detroit

64-57

1.5

558

534

+24

Kansas City

54-66

11

501

544

-43

Cleveland

54-67

11.5

510

633

-123

Minnesota

50-70

15

530

621

-91

 

The Week Ahead:

Chicago

3 vs. NYY

off Thursday

3 vs. SEA

Cleveland

3 @ SEA

off Thursday

3 vs. NYY

Detroit

off Monday

3 vs. TOR

3 vs. LAA

Kansas City

3 @ TB

off Thursday

3 @ BOS

Minnesota

3 @ OAK

4 @ TEX

 

 

 

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