The American League Central Race After Memorial Day

Heroism. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

There's an old baseball saw that says that you shouldn't look at the standings until Memorial Day, or until after Memorial Day or until sometime around that time. It's fairly silly because the baseball season never seems to start on the same day and Memorial Day is also movable. But anyway, here we are. It is, definitively after Memorial Day.

Here are the standings after Memorial Day:

AL Central Standings

Cleveland 27 21 .562 0 Won 1
Chicago 27 22 .551 0.5 Won 6
Detroit 23 25 .479 4 Lost 1
Kansas City 19 28 .404 7.5 Lost 1
Minnesota 16 32 .333 11 Won 1

(updated 5.29.2012 at 8:13 AM EDT)

  • When you look at the raw numbers, it isn't obvious how Cleveland is doing this. They're 7th in the AL in runs per game, and 12th per game in runs allowed. They've allowed more runs/per than the Royals. They've been outscored by 15 runs. But they're 10-2 in one-run games, which almost entirely explains their record. Kinda.
  • The White Sox have played like a classic mediocre team. They're 6th in runs scored and 6th in runs allowed. They hit home runs, like they always do, and that's about it offensively. Right now, Chris Sale and Jake Peavy are carrying the rotation, while Danks, Floyd, and Humber, have, in their own mild ways, struggled a bit.
  • Are the Tigers good? They're 8th in runs per game and 10th in runs allowed. Cabrera and Prince Fielder have been fine at the plate, though with likely terrible defense, and they're even getting a .414 OBP out of Austin Jackson. But they middle infield has sucked, and the corner spots have been a clown show. Rick Porcello is essentially Jimmy Gobble at this point, and Max Scherzer is bafflingly ineffective at times.
  • And the Twins are horrible. Awesome. I thought the Twins were always contenders? I thought their dogged focus on all things old-school inoculated them from the vagaries of life? I thought Gardy grew wins perennially?

From a purely competitive standpoint, our Royals seem out of it. Which is where they've been since about Game 15. After the disastrous start and the long losing streak, the Royals haven't been bad, bouncing around .500 and winning two of three here, losing two of three there, but there's no sense that this is a team ready to explode, ready or capable of producing a long winning streak and getting back into the race.

Meanwhile, as it often appears this time of year, we may have a three way race in the Central. It's never quite fully happened, but the White Sox/Tigers/Twins/Indians are often pretty closely matched, you just never quite know whether Detroit or Chicago will randomly be 15 games better at any time. If Detroit is the favorite, then we have to give them credit for getting back into things at some point. Maybe they will.

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