2009 MLB American League Central Notebook
The Chicago White Sox know that if they are going to be AL Central contenders, they are going to need better starting pitching.
Aside from left-hander Mark Buehrle and some occasional good starts from left-hander John Danks, there have been a lot of problems. Right-hander Jose Contreras has been shipped to the minors and right-hander Bartolo Colon has been suspect. He took the loss on May 21 in the 20-1 loss to Minnesota. Colon surrendered eight (one earned) runs.
But their hopes of fortifying the staff took a blow on May 21. The White Sox and San Diego agreed on a trade that would have brought power right-hander Jake Peavy to the South Side.
However, Peavy shot down the deal as he executed the no-trade clause in his contract. The thinking is that Peavy would prefer to stay in the National League since he has pitched his entire career in it.
Maybe closing is what right-hander Kerry Wood should have been doing all along. Wood, who spent 14 years in the Cubs organization, signed as a free agent with Cleveland back in December.
Although Wood blew a 5-2 lead on May 19 against Kansas City, he rebounded for the save on May 20. He has closed six of eight save opportunities. That’s not many save chances because the Indians are holding down last place.
Granted his ERA is high, but the Indians remain confident he will pull out if it. He is 10 th in the AL in saves with 10 and is tied for 12 th among relievers with 20.
The Twins completed a disastrous 1-6 roadtrip to New York and Chicago. Being swept in a four-game series against New York was pretty rough given that they lost the four games by five runs and three of those games in the Yankees last at bat.
But the win was odd. A 20-1 victory in Chicago seemed to take out a lot of frustration. And when the Twins score 20, the White Sox have been a pretty good punching bag for that. The last time Minnesota scored 20 runs in a game was in July of 2007 when the team scored 21 against the White Sox.
By the way, the Twins have been pretty good with the grand slam ball this year. Joe Mauer’s was the third by the team.
Maybe if the schedule makers had just allowed the Tigers to play the Texas Rangers, it would be pretty simple.
When Detroit completed a three-game sweep over Texas at Comerica Park, it ran the Tigers’ home winning streak over the Rangers to 11 consecutive games. That is the longest such winning by Detroit over one opponent in history. The last time the Rangers won a game in Detroit was Sept. 11, 2007.
Of course, the Rangers and Tigers danced this dance before. Detroit pulled off a nine-game home winning streak over the Rangers in Tiger Stadium from 1983-85.
Although right-hander Zack Greinke saw his miniscule ERA rise from 0.60 to 0.82 following his May 21 start against Cleveland, he has another pretty good streak going.
Since Sept. 2 of last year, Greinke has not allowed a home run over the last 94 innings.
But the good news is that the Royals’ positive start is becoming a box office draw. Through their first 25 dates, the ballclub surpassed the 500,000 attendance mark. That’s three dates ahead of the 2008 pace when the club reached that figure.
By Kevin Lonnquist
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