The Central division has suddenly become a race with three teams within 1½ games of first place. The Chicago White Sox are in third at the moment, but the team ERA has been 2.56 since being 9½ games back on June 9.
It will be anyone’s division with the White Sox playing the Detroit Tigers 14 more times and the Minnesota Twins 13 more times. Plus, the Tigers and Twins play 10 more times, including finishing up a three game set tonight in a rubber match.
The Tigers are 8-6 since June 15, and they have allowed 75 runs. The Twins are 6-8 in that same stretch, and they have allowed 71 runs. The White Sox are 12-2 during that stretch, and they have only allowed 38 runs.
What happened to the Tampa Bay Rays? They were the best team in baseball by six games. They had an ERA under three. They scored the most runs. They had a five game lead on the Yankees.
Now, they have the best ERA in the American League, and they are fourth in runs scored. Wait … How can they now be three games back and losers of seven of the last 10 games?
One reason, two of the three teams ahead of them in runs scored are the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, the first favorite to pull a winning streak off. Second, the Rays have lost by three runs or fewer in eight of the last nine losses.
The Texas Rangers joined the White Sox with an amazing winning streak, and they moved 3½ games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels. But the West division always has a catch.
The only other team that can win the division is the Angels, and they are not losing, because the Rangers only gained four games in an 11 game win streak. 7-4 is not a bad record to have in 11 games.
The series in Los Angeles this week should be an indicator of things to come. The Angels have already taken the first game, and a series win could put a damper on the Ranger celebration. However, the hitting and pitching has been there for both teams, but Texas has been hitting better.
TOP FIVE AL TEAMS June 7:
1.) New York Yankees - The Yankees are winning, and the teams behind them have injuries and bad luck.
2.) Boston Red Sox – They have scored the second most runs, but the Dustin Pedroia injury will hurt them.
3.) Texas Rangers – The 11 game winning streak was well deserved. They hit and, yes, they also pitch.
4.) Tampa Bay Rays – The slump continues, and they still have the best ERA and score the fourth most runs in the American League.
5.) Minnesota Twins – Struggling, and they may actually be dethroned by the Tigers or, dare I say, the White Sox.