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White Sox Sneak, Or Streak, Into First Place At The Break

The AL Central at the All-Star Break:

AL Central Standings

Chicago 49 38 .563 0 Won 8
Detroit 48 38 .558 0.5 Lost 1
Minnesota 46 42 .522 3.5 Won 1
Kansas City 39 49 .443 10.5 Lost 3
Cleveland 34 54 .386 15.5 Lost 2

(updated 7.11.2010 at 11:26 PM EDT)

Quietly, our little division has become fascinating.

  • The White Sox were 22-29 at one point, and I don't even know if that was their low point. They were simply a miserable team for basically two full months. Thanks to two long winning streaks, and some little bits of good play mixed in,the White Sox have gone 27-9 in their last 36 games. If you like drama, this is a fantastic development: a three-team race would be tremendous, and the White Sox are fun to have around. This looks like one of the easier teams to upgrade via trade and Kenny Williams tends to be aggressive. Stay tuned.
  • The Tigers lost first place, but should nevertheless be thrilled with their first half. To me, they seem like the White Sox: there's a lot of variability in their roster, and you can imagine seasons in which they win 78 games or 94 games. Detroit has won with a solid offense (5th in the AL) and a mediocre pitching staff (8th) that seems to be just barely surviving. They also share with the White Sox an odd mix of just about done players (Damon, Guillen, Ordonez) supported by a younger wave of some usefulness (Boesch, Scherzer, Porcello and Jackson a bit). The Tigers also have Miguel Cabrera amidst a career season, perhaps the best season of any player in the division.
  • Minnesota has been bland for two months now, but really, they're still in good shape. After starting 19-9, the Twins have gone 27-33, despite doing all the little things and playing the game the right way. On something vague like "base talent" or somesuch, the Twins are probably the best team in the division, but the division isn't going to be handed to them. The Twins are 5th in runs allowed (in the AL) and 6th in runs scored. Mediocrity across the board, which could be seen as a strength, has also sapped away some of the effectiveness of their pitching staff. In a stunning development, both Mauer and Morneau have missed time with injuries in the first half. Amazing!
  • Then we come to our Royals. 39-49. I think we've all seen worse.
  • The Indians are still in last. Can you imagine if anybody had picked them to win the division?