A couple weeks back, on June 26th actually, I wrote that the claim of the AL Central being the toughest division in baseball is probably misguided. Since then the Central has been on a roll.
Through the games on the 19th this is what the Central has done:
W L DET 12 6 CLE 12 8 MIN 11 10 CHI 13 9 KC 10 7
That’s a composite 58 and 40 record, good enough for and .591 winning percentage. And by definition, a good chunk of those wins had to come at the expense of the rest of the AL (if they were just playing each other it would be .500). In fact here’s how the Central fared against the rest of the league by team:
AL West W L Oak 7 1 LAA 3 0 Sea 4 3 Tex 2 2 AL East W L TB 10 1 Bos 6 1 Tor 3 4 Bal 3 5 NYY 1 3
And just to clarify, the AL Central teams beat Tampa 10 out of 11 tries. The bulk of the damage was done against the Devil Rays, the Athletics and the Red Sox.
So maybe the Central wasn’t looking strong earlier because they were beating up on each other? In any case, I think they can reclaim that whole toughest division title for the time being. They now sport the team with the best record in baseball, as well as the current wild card leader. And it’s not a top heavy division with the Twins over .500 and the White Sox and Royals merely being not good instead of awful.
Finally, one last table to look at and that is runs scored and runs allowed per game since June 25th in the Central.
RS RA DET 4.9 4.2 CLE 5.4 5.3 MIN 5.0 3.9 CHI 5.3 5.2 KC 5.6 3.8
The Tigers for all the pub their offense has deservedly received has been the worst offense over this stretch. Mind you that they still averaged a hair under 5 runs per game. And look who is tops on both counts, none other than the Kansas City Royals.