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MLB News Update: American League Central Update as of 8/21/13

1. Detroit Tigers (73-52), 2. Cleveland Indians (68-58), 3. Kansas City Royals (64-60), 4. Minnesota Twins (55-69)

As of August 21, 2013

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The Cleveland Indians look to gain ground before next weekend’s series with the Detroit Tigers.

They had their opportunity a few weeks ago and subsequently lost four straight game to the first place Tigers. Since then the Indians haven’t played great baseball but they’ve managed to play better than Detroit and keep themselves in contention. The Indians are 5.5 games out of first place as play begins on Wednesday and they’ll look for a huge sweep of the Los Angeles Angels behind Justin Masterson. The right hander lost his last time out to the Oakland Athletics despite going 7 2/3 innings and allowing just three earned runs. They’ll have the Minnesota Twins coming in over the weekend and a chance to beat up on another mediocre before taking on the Braves and Tigers next week. Cleveland has a lot of winnable games in September so if they can get within striking distance heading into the final month they’ve still got a shot. They’re currently 3.5 games behind the Athletics for the final Wild Card spot.

MLB News Update: American League Central Update as of 8/21/13

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City had their shot at picking up more ground after they swept a double header from Detroit on Friday, but they followed that up by losing on Saturday and Sunday. Their hot streak is officially over and last night they squandered a solid performance from Ervin Santana in a 2-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox. They’re just 7-6 on the year against a Chicago club that is 24 games under .500. With teams like the Yankees and Orioles playing better baseball, it’s going to be a tough chore for this club to make the playoffs. They’ve got two more games against the White Sox before hosting the Washington Nationals this weekend.

Minnesota continues to lose series and they’re now 14 games under .500 on the year. Justin Morneau carried the Twins on Tuesday night with a 4-for-5 night that included a home run and four RBI’s. Mike Pelfrey served up another quality start and the big right hander has been relatively consistent since getting off to a miserable start to the year. Glen Perkins continued his fantastic year with his 29th save of the year. They’re still looking for one of these young position players to show some improvement with the bat because outside of Morneau and Joe Mauer they don’t have too many guys in this lineup right now who are hitting for average.

The White Sox are 7-3 in their last 10 games and have won 10 straight thanks to some strong starting pitching. They’re still struggling to score runs but efforts like the ones they’ve gotten the past few days on the mound can go a long way toward turning a club around. It was John Danks who gave them a strong performance in what has been a miserable season on Tuesday night. The left threw eight shutout innings to improve his record to 3-10 on the year. Hector Santiago, Jose Quintana, and Chris Sale also have pitched well but this is a club that needs a lot of upgrades in the offseason. Players like Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn just don’t get it done anymore. Giving up Alex Rios for what amounts to nothing also seems like a puzzling move.

And all these clubs are still chasing the Tigers who are still 5.5 games up and 18 games over .500 at home despite being just 4-6 in their last 10. Rick Porcello was roughed up for five earned runs on Tuesday night and he’s going to be a guy that can really decide how far this club goes depending on how he pitches down the stretch and in the post season. When he’s on he can be absolutely dominant, but it seems to be few and far between for him. They’ll look for revenge the next two nights against Minnesota before traveling to Citi Field to take on the New York Mets this weekend.  

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