It's time for our monthly look at the AL Central standings, since the Kansas City Royals are actually trying to win this year. Below is the table of the AL Central Standings at the end of June, with run differentials and playoff odds included.
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- The Tigers continue to look like the best team in the division, but still can't pull away from the mediocrity brigade. Of course, Detroit was 39-41 through 80 games last year as the presumptive favorite, so there is still plenty of time for them to go on a run.
The Toronto Blue Jays are mollywhopping Detroit as I write this, so they may fall a half-game behind Cleveland by the end of the day.
- The Indians ended June with a four-game sweep over the White Sox, which placed them in a virtual tie for first place with the Tigers. I'm surprised we haven't heard many rumors about Cleveland adding a pitcher at the trade deadline, since their offense can clearly keep pace with Detroit. Of course, the starting pitching market is fairly thin, and the Indians' farm system lacks depth.
Jason Kipnis is hitting .299/.384/.533. The Royals should find a Kipnis.
- The Royals finished 16-11 in June, and only allowed 89 runs the whole month. I really don't know how long the pitching staff can keep this up, but as long as Kansas City is within striking distance of first place, I think they should bring in an extra bat to improve the offense.
The team's next 20 games are against teams above .500, so we should have a pretty good idea of where this team stands near the end of July.
- The Twins continue to be not as god-awful as everyone expected, which is nice I guess. Adding Kyle Gibson should help their pitching staff, but help for the offense looks decently far away. It will be interesting to see if Minnesota can net anything significant in return for Josh Willingham or Justin Morneau, and if they change their mind about not wanting to trade Glen Perkins.
- The White Sox are dead in the water, and could probably benefit from a complete fire-sale and Houston Astros like rebuild. Alex Rios looks like the most desirable piece, a player the Royals should look into if Chicago is willing to trade in the division.