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State of the AL Central Standings: A Royal Resurgence

It’s a three-team race.

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A few months back, the Kansas City Royals were left for dead. Yet, the AL Central standings to stay the second half show them in a close three-way race.

The Cleveland Indians, assumed as the divisional favorites, lead, however not by as much as expected. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins remain a surprise contender. Kansas City rehabilitated their season before the break, and even Detroit and Chicago are in range. For the latter two, it’s a bigger hill, but they’re within ten games.

As with every other division, we grade the five AL Central teams on their standings performances to date.

AL Central Standings: Current

1st T-2nd T-2nd 4th 5th
CLE-Cleveland Indians MIN-Minnesota Twins KC-Kansas City Royals DET-Detroit Tigers CHW-Chicago White Sox
47-40 45-43 44-43 39-48 38-49
2.5 GB 3 GB 8 GB 9 GB
#3 seed

AL Central Standings: Cleveland Indians, 1st

This resembles the team that was within a hair of winning the World Series last year, but the Tribe lack consistency. Jose Ramirez and Lonnie Chisenhall are hitting well, but this is a middle-of-the-road lineup. Jason Kipnis’s injury doesn’t help, but for perspective, they were mediocre last year as well.

Where the 2016 Indians did their damage was pitching. All of the starters won at least 11 games, and nobody had an ERA above 4.40. Andrew Miller and Dan Otero killed out of the bullpen. Now, Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer have had rough seasons. The bullpen is fine (the best in MLB as of now), but the starting has trailed off a bit.

Cleveland is getting smoked in Interleague play and haven’t been a good home team, either. First place, but could be better.

Grade: B-

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