- Minnesota 37-28
- Cleveland 32-27
- Chicago 30-31
- Detroit 24-39
- Kansas City 21-41
Although the Twins are still holding down first place in the AL Central, the lead has dwindled to just two games. Cleveland is among the best teams in baseball right now, and they’re making a hard charge towards the top. Minnesota and Cleveland get together for three games this week and a total of eight times before the end of the month. Some movement is coming when those two match up.
Health has begun to return for Minnesota. Welcoming back Joe Ryan and Sonny Gray while in Seattle was a massive boost to the starting rotation. Jorge Polanco is dealing with a nagging back issue, but both Josh Winder and Kyle Garlick could return to the active roster this week as well. It remains worth watching as to when the Twins will deem young slugger Alex Kirilloff fit for what they hope is a final promotion to the big leagues.
Lance Lynn made his 2022 debut for the White Sox, and it wasn’t good. Being hit around some, the veteran wasn’t sharp but did enough to get Chicago the win. Not long after the White Sox did lose reliever Kyle Crick to right elbow inflammation. He’s been good out of the pen and that would be a disappointing loss should it become long term. Crick’s placement on the injured list came just a day after star closer Liam Hendriks suffered the same fate due to a forearm strain. It’s estimated that Hendriks will be down for three weeks. Tony La Russa’s club did reinforcements with Vince Velasquez rejoining the rotation and Joe Kelly being re-inserted into the bullpen.
When things are going your way, they really go your way. Cleveland was in a tough spot against the Rockies this week and Steven Kwan made nothing short of a miraculous catch to preserve the lead. Rolling over their past ten, it’s been big spots like that where the Guardians have risen to the occasion. Slugger Franmil Reyes appears to be nearing a big league return. He’s currently rehabbing with Triple-A Columbus, but could be activated as early as Monday.
A.J. Hinch isn’t used to losing, but the Detroit Tigers have done a ton of that this season. Expected to take a step forward, the club held a closed door meeting on Wednesday. Javier Baez was brought in as a flashy free agent signing, and a handful of young contributors were expected to step up. So far that hasn’t happened. This meeting followed a 13-0 drubbing by the Chicago White Sox, but at least Roger Clemens’ son Kody Clemens made an appearance on the bump for Detroit.
The Royals have seen Rookie of the Year candidate Bobby Witt Jr. start to turn it on. He’s now got a 108 OPS+ on the season after starting incredibly slow. Andrew Benintendi has cooled some at the plate but his average remains a strong .301. Right now, and most of the season, not much is going right for Kansas City but there are small glimmers of hope for the future.
The Week Ahead:
Before heading home to welcome the Guardians and Rockies, Minnesota takes a quick trip out west to face the Diamondbacks for three games. That series is sandwiched in between off days.
Before getting the bottom-feeding Orioles at home a week from now, Chicago will travel to Houston and then return home for a three-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Cleveland can’t afford to look ahead as they’ll face the Dodgers in Los Angeles before coming to Minnesota. The goal would be to keep the deficit close in the Central so the series at Target Field has heightened intrigue.
Needing to turn things around, Detroit gets a series against the Rangers at home. They’ll then travel to Boston on Monday, and picking up wins against Texas should be a much more likely opportunity. The Red Sox are currently one of the hottest teams in baseball.
The Royals continue their west coast trip as they spend the weekend across the bay in Oakland before heading to Los Angeles for a series against the Angels.
What are you looking forward to this week? Can the Twins grab some distance ahead of Cleveland?