The Royals had an amazing weekend in which they swept the AL Central-leading Twins, and believe me, it took all of my inner fan boy to keep the Royals off the top spot of these weekly Power Rankings. Just a week ago, it seemed like doom and gloom on the horizon for baseball in Kansas City. Now, Royals nation is rejuvenated (including myself), with hope building in Kansas City that the Boys in Blue can somehow sneak back into the playoff hunt in the next week or two.
Baseball is weird at times…and look no further than the Detroit Tigers, who continue to make a meteoric rise up in the standings. Hard to imagine anyone in Kansas City or any of the AL Central cities (even Detroit) saw that coming.
Here’s this week’s AL Central Power Rankings:
1. Minnesota Twins (11-6) (+25 run differential)
The Twins got it handed to them at Kauffman Stadium, which was glorious in all regard from a Royals fan’s perspective. From a Twinkie fan’s though? It probably was living hell. After all, the Twins were one of the hottest teams in baseball entering the weekend series in Kansas City, and the Royals were one of the coldest, as they had lost six of their last seven, all against Chicago-based teams. However, instead of it being a massacre in the Twin Cities’ favor, the Royals surprised, keeping at bay one of the hottest hitting teams in baseball. The Twins were outscored 16-10 by the Royals, with the Royals bullpen keeping the Twins in check in the late innings over the weekend. The Twins still keep the top spot because they lead the Central in run differential (+25) and they came back to win on the road in Milwaukee, thanks to another solid performance from Randy Dobnak, who is making me look like an idiot for bashing him in Week 1 of the Power Rankings.
Next Series: At Milwaukee, August 10th
2. Detroit Tigers (9-5) (+4 Run Differential)
The Tigers were first place in the AL Central for about an hour or so until the Twins took back the the top spot after they beat the Brewers. The Tigers beat Chicago in their first game of their series in Detroit, and the Tigers are doing their best to be the “surprise team” that no one saw coming in the AL Central. The Tigers success story is quite amazing if you analyze everything. Matt Boyd, the “ace” of the Tigers staff, is having a terrible start, as he has a 9.20 ERA in 14.2 IP so far. CJ Cron is posting an OPS of .894, but he has an average of .190. And Jacoby Jones is the Tigers’ best hitter with an OPS of 1.177, and doing so primarily out of the nine-spot in the lineup. It’s unlikely that the Tigers will keep this up (it’s easy to boost your record against the Pirates, probably the worst team in baseball currently). But for Detroit sports fans, I’m sure they’ll take this great start, especially with Lions football looming (i.e. more losing soon).
Next Series: Against Chicago (White Sox), August 10th
3. Cleveland Indians (10-7) (+22 run differential)
The Indians are just a weird team. Their hitting is up and down, with Francisco Lindor starting to pick it up after a slow start. But as long as the hitting is “okay”, they should be in most games thanks to their starting pitching. Shane Bieber continues to whiff-heavy things on the mound, and Mike Clevinger and Carlos Carrasco only add to the rotation. The Indians aren’t as sexy as the White Sox lineup wise, nor do they have the “Bomba Squad” antics, but they may be the most complete team and could certainly be the most “dangerous” should things start clicking. But that’s the thing…they have to “start” clicking, and things don’t look good after pitchers Zach Plesac and Clevinger were just recently sent home for breaking team rules in their most recent road trip in Chicago. The Indians should be at the top of this division easily right now, but much like the “Lit” song, they are their own worst enemy so far in 2020.
Next Series: Against Chicago (Cubs), August 11th
4. Chicago White Sox (8-9) (-7 Run Differential)
This White Sox team is frustrating. If I was from the South Side, I would be drowning my frustrations into cans of Old Style watching this team. The lineup is just something to behold. Eloy Jimenez! Luis Robert! Yasmani Grandal! Jose Abreu! The list goes on. And yet, the White Sox just fail to put it together consistently. Their defense is kind of bad (not many bloopers can beat that Jimenez one this weekend). Their pitching really isn’t doing so well either, with Dallas Keuchel took the loss tonight against the Tigers. And while Lucas Giolito is improving, his ERA still is at 4.37, not exactly Cy Young material. The bullpen also may be as weak a link as their defense, as they ranke 20th in reliever ERA. I imagine the return of a healthy Tim Anderson at shortstop will help, but it feels like this White Sox team will be a roller-coaster in the Central in 2020.
Next Series: At Detroit, August 10th
5. Kansas City Royals (7-10) (-5 Run Differential)
I wanted to put the Royals fourth, but I can’t put the Royals over a team they are winless against this year. But here’s the thing: the Royals are looking pretty damn good right now and things are looking up as well. Brady Singer and Kris Bubic continue to show that they belong in the League as rookies. Brad Keller came off the IL to make his 2020 debut last Thursday and showed why he was the Royals’ Opening Day starter in 2019. And the bullpen? Greg Holland, Josh Staumont, Scott Barlow, and Trevor Rosenthal are making Royals fans nostalgic about HDH, but in a good way. And with Hunter Dozier back in the lineup, a suddenly hot Royals lineup has the potential to be even better, which makes this upcoming road trip, starting in Cincinnati, all the more intriguing. The Royals may be last now, but it’s possible they could be out of the cellar by next week’s time.
Next Series: At Cincinnati, August 11th