A.L. Central Week in Review
It may not have had the ending White Sox fans were hoping for, but it was a successful week on the road for the team and they return to U.S. Cellular this week with a larger lead than they had seven days ago and a schedule that might allow them create a little more space before the All-Star break. Let’s take a look at the A.L. Central Week in Review:
Chicago: The White Sox began their week in Minnesota. In the opener, Jake Peavy labored through 6 innings; he limited the damage to 3 runs, but the offense was unable to provide much help in a Sox loss. On Tuesday Alex Rios had a pair of hits, including his 9th HR and Gavin Floyd made his second strong start in a row, going 7 scoreless frames. Addison Reed was very shaky in closing things out, but the Pale Hose held on. The bats finally got going in the rubber match; Alejandro De Aza, Kevin Youkilis, Adam Dunn, and Rios each had 3 hits. Chris Sale pitched 7 solid innings in a 12-5 romp.
Next the Sox headed to New York for 4 games with the Yankees. Dylan Axelrod put in 7 good innings against one of the best lineups in baseball, but the Sox were behind in the 9th until Dayan Viciedo hit a 3-run blast to win the game. Friday night saw Jose Quintana’s worst start of the year, but the offense exploded for 14 runs, including 2 home runs from A.J. Pierzynski and shots from Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez. It’s a shame they couldn’t have saved any of those runs for Saturday, when they were held to just 3 hits. Peavy went the distance and struck out 11, but gave up 3 HR in a 4-0 loss. The Sox took a 2-0 lead in Sunday’s finale, but they wouldn’t score again; Floyd walked 5 and gave up 8 hits, leading to 4 runs. The team had to settle for a series split, but that’s not a bad result for 4 games at Yankee Stadium.
Record for the week: 4-3
Player of the week: Alex Rios – .467/.467/.767, an OPS of 1.233, 14 hits, 3 2B, 2 HR, 3 SB, 7 runs, 6 RBI
Player of June: Alex Rios – .346/.352/.598, an OPS of .950, 37 hits, 5 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 8 SB, 22 runs, 16 RBI
Cleveland: The Indians traveled to the Bronx to start their week and generally got their butts handed to them. Josh Tomlin lasted just 3 innings Monday and the offense was toothless in a 7-1 loss. Justin Masterson lasted 6 innings Tuesday, but was not particularly effective. It was Derek Jeter’s 38th birthday and the umpires gifted the Yankees with quite a call in the 8th inning. Until the 9th inning, Cleveland hadn’t scored and by then it was too little, too late. Wednesday’s contest was more competitive, but it ended as another loss for the Tribe, finishing off the sweep.
The Indians headed down to Baltimore for a weekend of eating crab legs, quoting “The Wire,” and playing the Orioles. Home runs from Johnny Damon, Shin-Soo Choo, and Asdrubal Cabrera helped Cleveland end its 5-game losing streak Thursday. Derek Lowe wasn’t sharp on Friday and despite 8 runs on 16 hits for the Indians, including 3 apiece for Choo and Jason Kipnis, they dropped the game. Since 8 on 16 wasn’t enough, Cleveland stepped it up to 11 runs on 19 hits Saturday. Jose Lopez has 5 of those hits, while Choo had 4 of them, including his 8th HR of the year, and the Indians romped. Masterson worked 7 innings on Sunday, giving up just 2 runs and a 6-2 win gave Cleveland the series.
Record for the week: 3-4
Player of the week: Shin-Soo Choo – .458/.581/.750, an OPS of 1.331, 11 hits, 2 HR, 6 BB, 7 runs, 6 RBI
Player of June: Shin-Soo Choo – .333/.382/.579, an OPS of .961, 38 hits, 11 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 25 runs, 13 RBI
Detroit: The Tigers were down in Texas during the week. On Monday Rick Porcello gave up just 1 run over 6 innings to the Rangers high-powered offense and Miguel Cabrera’s 3-hit game led Detroit to an 8-2 win. Prince Fielder led the offense Tuesday with a pair of hits (including his 12th HR), but Drew Smyly had a tough time on the mound and the Tigers fell. The rubber match was a slug fest; Detroit put up 17 hits, including 3 by Quintin Berry, Alex Avila, and Jhonny Peralta, but Doug Fister gave up 9 runs in 4.2 innings and the bullpen gave up another 4 in a 13-9 loss.
The Tigers spent their weekend in Tampa. Max Scherzer was solid in 6 innings on work Thursday and Cabrera and Austin Jackson each had 4 hits, leading Detroit to a 5-2 win. Justin Verlander gave up 3 home runs on Friday and the Tigers’ bats were mostly quiet as the Rays evened the series. Next, Porcello made his second start of the week and went 7 scoreless innings. Jackson and Cabrera led the offense again, with Jackson’s 9th HR of 2012 and another 3 hits for Cabrera. Smyly only last 5 innings in Sunday’s contest, but the bullpen followed with 4 shutout frames and Detroit pulled out another win to take the series.
Record for the week: 4-3
Player of the week: Miguel Cabrera – .462/.563/.692, an OPS of 1.255, 12 hits, 3 2B, 1 HR, 5 runs, 6 RBI
Player of June: Miguel Cabrera – .311/.387/.604, an OPS of .990, 33 hits, 10 2B, 7 HR, 17 runs, 20 RBI
Kansas City: The Royals were at home against Tampa to begin their week and on Monday they got a lights out performance from Luke Hochevar, a complete game shutout with 7 Ks. K.C. also added 13 hits, including 3 from Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar. Bruce Chen went 7 strong innings Tuesday and the offense put up 8 more runs, capped by a 3-run HR by Jeff Francoeur, in another Kansas City win. The series finale was tied at 4 in the 8th, but Billy Butler hit his 15th HR of 2012 to put the Royals ahead; Jonathan Broxton picked up his 19th save to close out the sweep.
The Royals were in Minnesota next, looking at 4 games against one of the worst teams in baseball, giving K.C. a chance to build on a strong run that’s made them fringe contenders in the Central. 8 great innings from Luis Mendoza on Friday gave the Royals a win to open the series. Saturday was a doubleheader. Jonathan Sanchez started the first game; he’s been a wreck all season and with Melky Cabrera being voted into the All-Star Game for San Francisco, that trade has been disastrous for the Royals. Sanchez gave up 10 hits and walked 6 in a lopsided loss. The nightcap wasn’t much better, Kansas City, scored a just 3 runs between the two games and lost them both. On Sunday the offense showed up, Eric Hosmer led the charge with 3 hits, but Bruce Chen was roughed up and the Royals lost again.
Record for the week: 4-3
Player of the week: Eric Hosmer – .423/.483/.615, an OPS of 1.098, 11 hits, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 sB, 4 runs, 3 RBI
Player of June: Alex Gordon – 340/.426/.509, an OPS of .936, 36 hits, 11 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 16 BB 22 runs, 4 RBI
Minnesota: The Twins hosted Chicago and got a great outing from Francisco Liriano to begin their week. Ben Revere had 4 hits and Joe Mauer added 3 in a 4-1 victory. Liriano seems to have found his form after a very rough start to the season. Minnesota couldn’t get any offense going Tuesday. They rallied in the 9th to get within one, but that was as far things went. Nick Blackburn was roughed up for 6 runs in just 5 innings in the series finale. Brian Dozier and Darin Mastroianni each homered, but that was not nearly enough in a lopsided Minnesota loss.
The Twins stayed home to play the Royals next. On Friday the Twins never got anything going on offense and Brian Duensing lasted just 4 innings in the loss. Scott Diamond continued his strong 2012 in the first half of Saturday’s doubleheader, giving up only 2 runs over 8 innings. Trevor Plouffe continued his incredible June with another HR (his 11th of the month) to lead the offensive attack. Josh Willingham, Chris Parmalee, and Mauer all homered in the evening’s contest and Cole DeVries was solid over 6 innings in another Minnesota win. Liriano wasn’t as sharp on Sunday, the Twins’ offense didn’t mind, Plouffe hit two more home runs, starting off his July right where he left off his June, Willingham added his 17th of the season as well, and Minnesota took the series.
Record for the week: 4-3
Player of the week: Trevor Plouffe – .280/.345/.720, an OPS of 1.065, 7 hits, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 runs, 5 RBI
Player of June: Trevor Plouffe – .327/.391./.735, an OPS of 1.126, 32 hits, 7 2B, 11 HR, 22 runs, 21 RBI
A.L. Central Standings (through Sunday, July 1st):
The Week Ahead:
3 vs. TEX
3 vs. TOR
3 vs. LAA
4 vs. TB
4 vs. MIN
3 vs. KC
4 @ TOR
3 @ DET
4 @ DET
3 @ TEX