On Sunday, two AL Central teams played each other while the other three had foes from outside the division. They went 0-3, which isn't all too surprising, given how things have played out for the first month of the season. So far, this division flat-out sucks.
The first-place Indians are 14-12, which is fine. It's just that seven of those wins came against fellow AL Central teams (and three were against the Orioles, who are terrible). The Tigers sit in second at 11-15. The Twins have lost nine of their last 10 and are 9-14. The White Sox are 8-18 while the Royals are 7-20.
Now, look at the records outside the division:
- Indians, 7-10
- Tigers, 5-8
- Twins, 7-13
- White Sox, 3-12
- Royals, 1-10
Add it all up, and that's a 23-53 record by the AL Central outside the division. That's a .303 winning percentage, or a 162-game pace of 49 wins. Holy cow, that's just brutal.
Surely things won't continue on this path, but I think we've seen enough to know this is an objectively bad division. Even if the Indians end up in the mid-90s in wins and the Twins crawl back into wild-card contention, there are three rebuilding teams here and at least two of them look every bit as bad as we thought they'd be.
There are residual effects to this, too. The contenders from other AL divisions will get a boost in win totals, and we can already see three teams in the AL West at least five games over .500 while the AL East has two powerhouses with the Blue Jays sitting 15-12. Thanks in part to how bad the AL Central is, we could well see two very high win total wild cards, such as the 2015 NL Central, sending a 98-win and a 97-win team to the Wild Card.
Speaking of the NL Central, there's benefit there as well. That's who the AL Central teams play in interleague matchups this season. We're already seeing some of it. The Pirates are 17-11, thanks in part to a 6-2 record against the AL Central. Throw in how bad the Reds have been and you get four NL Central teams at least three games over .500. If things continue along this path, the NL Central contenders should get to inflate their records a bit, thanks to the AL Central teams being so bad.
Big picture, this isn't all that huge a deal. It's just a general observation that 1) The AL Central sucks right now and 2) Lots of other teams stand to benefit as a result.
Feel free to tell me I suck as much as the AL Central via email (email@example.com) or Twitter (@MattSnyderCBS). Have a great week!
|This is a great team, but at least now that they've lost a few games, people will settle down about them winning something like 110 games. *Checks calculator and sees they are on pace for 106 wins*. Damn.||1||95-67|
|That's a big lead in the NL West, but losing Robbie Ray with Taijuan Walker already down is a pretty crushing blow.||1||52-110|
|Well, what do you know? Maybe it was a good idea to keep playing instead of packing up and quitting after a 6-7 start. (Settle down early in April, people!).||1||92-70|
|Start 17-2, then lose six of eight, which includes series losses to the A's and Rays? Ebbs and flows, man. Baseball is a grind.||3||92-70|
|After a 7-8 start, Joe Maddon decided to install Albert Almora as his everyday leadoff man with Javier Baez in the two-hole. They have gone 8-2 since then.||3||71-91|
|Uh oh. The Angels have now lost nine of their last 12. They did take a series from the Astros last week, though.||--||77-85|
|The Mets have gone 6-8 since that 11-1 start, but remember our talk from a few weeks ago about banking wins. They set themselves up to be able to absorb some regression and head to May in very good shape.||3||77-85|
|I, too, have Acuna Fever.||6||88-73|
|How about a 7-3 road trip, including taking three of four from the Indians? That'll play. Good work, M's.||8||90-72|
|They've lost six of eight and could use a healthy Josh Donaldson back in the lineup.||5||91-71|
|Man, they've gotta get Josh Tomlin out of the rotation, even if it's just a temporary measure.||4||80-82|
|Course correction. Not a very good week, but they were too low last week. That's on me.||3||82-80|
|A five-game losing streak followed by a five-game winning streak? Why not. Ebbs and flows. Baseball, man.||5||61-101|
|That four-game sweep in Wrigley had to be a punch to the gut, especially coming off that eight-game winning streak.||1||95-67|
|There's some window dressing in the record. The Cardinals have gone 7-0 against the Reds. They don't have a winning record against anyone else.||3||90-72|
|Through April 17, the Rockies had started a tough road trip to D.C. and Pittsburgh 5-1. This past week, they went 3-3 against the Padres and Marlins. Baseball, man.||5||74-87|
|Despite being pretty banged up, the Giants are in a nice stretch here. They took two of three from the Angels, two of three from the Nats and three of four from the Dodgers.||6||107-55|
|The level of concern here isn't zero. We'll go to DEFCON 4.||9||106-56|
|The level of concern here isn't zero. We'll go to DEFCON 4.||3||65-97|
|The A's had actually taken nine of their last 11 games before dropping these last two games to the Astros, and there's no shame in that.||--||86-76|
|I'm not buying much here, but the Blake Snell breakout season is one of the things I very much buy.||1||100-62|
|Coming into the season, I begged the Baseball Gods for at least one last great Miguel Cabrera season. He's hitting .326/.413/.528 so far. Yes!||1||77-85|
|It's pretty troubling to lose nine of 10, especially when losing a series at home to the Reds.||4||73-89|
|How are things going? Their infield on the disabled list is better than the one in the lineup at present.||1||60-102|
|The "wow" stat of the season so far is Matt Davidson having seven home runs in Kauffman Stadium. You know, where the Royals play. Seven home runs in five games there for Davidson. The Royals only have 10 homers collectively in 15 games there all year.||3||93-69|
|Franchy Cordero is quickly becoming a power rankings favorite. In 64 at-bats, he has 25 strikeouts and six home runs -- most of those tape-measure shots.||2||79-83|
|In taking two of three from the Tigers, this past weekend marked the Orioles' second series win of the season. They've lost seven series, for those curious.||1||52-110|
|The Marlins took series from the Dodgers and Rockies this past week. Good job, Fish!||1||67-95|
|The Reds entered last week 3-18. Last week they went 4-3. Here they come!||1||83-79|
|Might this be the long-overdue Jorge Soler breakout? He's hitting .307 with a .436 OBP. The power isn't quite where it should be, but that'll follow the improved approach.||3||74-88|