a 2009 AL East Preview: 2009 MLB American League Central Preview
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2009 MLB American League Central Notebook

 

It's hard to really know what baseball was thinking when it came to Chicago closer Bobby Jenks. Actually, I think I do. Bob Watson's office really didn't want anything to do with this and did something for the sake of doing it.

Last week, Jenks admitted that he intentionally threw a pitch behind Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler in the 9th inning of Chicago's 3-2 win. Jenks said he was retaliating because of earlier moments of the game when Ranger pitchers hit White Sox hitters.

There were really two ridiculous conclusions emerging from this. First, Jenks did this when the White Sox held a precarious lead and was already pitching to the tying run. It could have risked the game had he hit Kinsler and then watch the inning implode.

Second, it really shows lack of judgment for a player to admit that he was throwing at somebody. Let the umpires police that and if a report has to be made to Watson's office, then do it.

I really want to know what Watson is thinking. Last month, Watson decided that when Boston right-hander Josh Beckett intentionally threw at the Angels Bobby Abreu. The pitch didn't hit Abreu but Beckett was suspended for six games. It was later reduced to five. Beckett didn't admit he did and fought the suspension.

For Jenks who flat out admits his actions, we have a reported $750 fine and no suspension? Are you kidding?

Help me understand what the process is Mr. Watson and then be consistent with it.



CLEVELAND 

Regarded as a sexy pick to win the division when the season began, the Indians are floundering in last place. The tone to this rocky season was set on the opening series of the season when they were swept at Texas.

Now, you have to wonder what this means for manager Eric Wedge. Arizona fired Bob Melvin because that team underachieved. Now, you have the Indians, who appeared to have all of the intangibles, that can't do anything well. They are 13th in the AL in pitching with an ERA of well over 5.50. They are in the middle of the pack when it comes to runs scored. At least the defense has been serviceable.

DETROIT

Dontrelle Willis' return to the Tiger rotation really did nothing to convince his critics that his best days are still ahead of him. Willis couldn't get out of the fifh inning in Detroit's 14-10 13-inning loss at Minnesota.

Willis was on the DL with an anxiety disorder that kept him out for the first six weeks of the season. His velocity was decent but he erred on command and location. He walked two, recorded no strikeouts and surrendered eight runs.

This is going to be a wait-and-see approach with Willis. Since winning 22 games in 2005 with Florida, he is 22-29 since then.

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KANSAS CITY

It turned out to be the West Coast road trip from you know where for the Royals. They went to Anaheim and Oakland holding first place and an 18-11 record.

They returned home to play Baltimore on the heels of a five-game losing streak. In fact, it was the first time since 2006 that the Royals were swept on a road trip that lasted at least five games. And they pretty much got kicked around. They were outscored 28-9.

 

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MINNESOTA

Welcome back, Joe Mauer! The Twins catcher and two-time AL batting champion has quickly returned by tearing up American League pitching.

Mauer is hitting .455 through his first 44 at-bats. Plus, he appears to have more power. He's already delivered four home runs -- he hit just 10 in 2008 -- and all of them have gone to left field. Mauer could be at five, but he was robbed of a home run Tuesday against Detroit.

But Mauer's return has re-energized the Twins' offense. In his first 12 games, the Twins have averaged 6.67 runs per contest. Mauer also continues to show a great eye. He's only struck out five times.

Mauer is arguably the most complete catcher in the game.

 

By Kevin Lonnquist
MLBcenter.com Staff Writer


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