The American League Central is becoming a little more intriguing, but the Minnesota Twins are clearly the top team at the moment, despite losing two of three from the Atlanta Braves over the weekend. The reason is the record in the division, 17-9.
Why do they win? The answer is the best defense in the major leagues and the emergence of Francisco Liriano who has 35 strikeouts and four walks in his last four starts. In that stretch, he is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA.
The other story this weekend was interleague play with the Chicago White Sox taking two of three from the Chicago Cubs. The final game was a classic with Ted Lilly taking the game into the ninth with a no-hitter. The White Sox nearly pulled off a win, but they struggled with bases loaded and one out.
The New York Yankees are back in first place, and they may stay there a while until the Tampa Bay Rays regain their form from the beginning of the season. The Rays cannot find the consistency of late, and the Yankees have slowly tied them for first, after being five games back not too long ago.
The Rays did, however, push the Toronto Blue Jays back into place. The Blue Jays are now 6½ games back behind three teams. The Red Sox are the other team at four games back.
Since the Yankees were swept by the Rays and lost a series to the New York Mets, they have only lost one series out of six, including two sweeps.
The West wouldn’t be normal if another team from the week before was in first place. The Los Angeles Angels were briefly in first, but the Texas Rangers took back the lead not too long after that.
The Angels, however, are still the team to watch here. They are only a half game back, and they are 15-4 since being 21-26 on May 24. They are playing as a team, and they are scoring more runs than expected.
The Rangers will need to play beter on the road. 12-17 is not going to help the cause, especially since the Angels are not only 16-13 at home, but they are 20-17 on the road. They have also won 11 of their past 14 road games during this stretch.
TOP FIVE AL TEAMS June 7:
1.) New York Yankees - The Yankees have feasted on sub-par competition.
2.) Tampa Bay Rays – Losing two of three to Florida doesn’t help, and their pitching hasn’t been lights out of late.
3.) Minnesota Twins – They are 17-9 in the central, and the question of who is the No. 1 pitcher has been answered with Francisco Liriano.
4.) Los Angeles Angels – Going 15-4 and sweeping the Los Angeleas Dodgers on the road is going to make the teams ahead and behind you sweat a little.
5.) Texas Rangers – They can hit, and they have shown some heart with battling the Angels.