On Deck: Mish-mash in the Central
Posted on: May 1, 2011 11:26 am
Edited on: May 1, 2011 12:05 pm
By Matt Snyder
Upside-Down Central: Coming into the season, the AL Central was said to be a three-team race between the Twins, White Sox and Tigers. Go grab a look at the standings as we head into May, though. They appear to be almost completely upside down from what we've seen in recent years. The Indians have won five straight and a franchise-record 18 in April. They don't appear to be going away. Meanwhile, the Tigers, Twins and White Sox have lost a combined 14 consecutive games. The Twins and White Sox are already nine games out of first. The Royals have won two straight after it appeared they were coming back to Earth. Does the turning of the calendar to May bring a complete reshuffling? Ozzie Guillen is ready to forget about April and I'm guessing Jim Leyland and Ron Gardenhire have the same feeling. I do expect the three bottom teams to get better in the coming weeks, but the Indians don't look like pretenders. This could actually be one of the most exciting divisional races. Or, if things don't change, the most boring. We'll see.
Still Streaking: Andre Ethier's 26-game hitting streak (an April record) is the talk of baseball. He's hitting .400 with a 1.059 OPS, 10 doubles, three home runs, 16 RBI and 15 runs during the streak, so he's not just squeaking by with a single per game. Dustin Moseley is the opposing hurler Sunday. In three career at-bats, Ethier has three hits, including a home run, against Moseley. That's far too small a sample to make any judgements, other than to say that he certainly won't be feeling anything less than confident when stepping into the box. That matters. Expect the streak to be at 27 come Monday.
Underrated Pitching Matchups: On a day when we're treated to Jered Weaver (update: nevermind, he's out ), King Felix and the surprising Justin Masterson, there are quite a few pretty solid, yet under the radar, pitching matchups. Jordan Zimmermann has not pitched nearly as bad as his record (1-4) or ERA (4.55) would indicate and he's facing an anemic San Francisco offense with Matt Cain opposite him. Expect a low-scoring affair. How about Jaime Garcia against the recently-arrested Derek Lowe? Dustin Moseley only has a 1.99 ERA to this point, and he takes on Jon Garland, who hasn't been bad. Ricky Nolasco against Bronson Arroyo is another pretty good match. Cliff Lee squares off against Chris Young (1-0, 2.65) in Philly. Over in the AL, young gun Zach Britton toes the slab against the White Sox -- who trot out Gavin Floyd (3-1, 3.60). Matt Harrison is looking to get back on track against the A's and Gio Gonzalez (2.70 ERA). As I said, lots of good pitching matchups that wouldn't necessarily immediately turn heads.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.