2009 MLB American League Central Notebook
Cleveland’s inability to get out of the cellar of the American League Central division is spurred by its unfortunate ability to issue walks.
The Indians have walked the most batters in baseball with 231. Relief pitchers have contributed to the cause with 100, which is about 43 percent. And of those walks 66 have scored. That accounts to about 28.5 percent.
This pitching staff has proven the time tested theory that if you don’t force batters to put the ball in play you are eventually going to pay for it. Thus, the Indians are at 10 games below .500 in a division that if they could get their starting pitching straightened out, they could very easily climb back into the race.
The Twins better get used to life on the road in the second half of the season. Well, they better used to life on the road now.
Following the completion of their three-game homestand at the Metrodome against Cleveland, the Twins headed West to begin a 10-game roadtrip to Seattle, Oakland and the Chicago Cubs.
Minnesota has played more home games (33) than anybody else in baseball to this point. Arizona is the closest at 31. But this means that if the Twins are going to remain a factor in the division race, they are going to have to win away from the Metrodome. That’s been a problem as they are an AL-worst 6-16.
Left-hander John Danks makes what is considered a pretty important start for his and his ballclub’s season on June 5 against Cleveland.
Danks has been pretty foul for about the last six weeks. He’s 2-3 with a 7.75 ERA in his last seven starts. His ERA has jumped from 3.81 to 4.80. Danks’ command has been OK. However, he’s not missing a lot of bats either. He has allowed 49 hits over his last 31 1/3 innings. That’s just allowing too many baserunners where bad things can happen.
Chicago has had enough problems with its rotation without Danks falling apart. Starting pitching has pretty much made the White Sox ineffective.
The Royals continued their roadtrip to Toronto on June 5 carrying a season-long seven-game losing streak. They have also lost nine of their last 10.
Their floundering offense just can’t get anything going. As they were swept at Tampa Bay, the Royals scored only four runs against what was a pretty ordinary Rays starting rotation.
It didn’t help when catcher John Buck went on the disabled list with a bad back. Without Zack Greinke, the Royals would be worse than 23-30. Greinke is 8-1, while the team is 15-29 in all other games.
Famed Tiger Stadium’s last remaining sections will be torn down fairly soon. Detroit city leaders recently blocked a $33.4 million proposal by a non-profit group to preserve the ballpark.
A city committee voted 7-1 to complete the demolition as scheduled. The first phase of the demolition began at the end of June 2008. Most of the ballpark was gone by the fall.
The ballpark opened up as Navin Field in 1912. The Tigers won their four world championships while playing there in 1935, 1945, 1968 and 1984. The Tigers left for Comerica Park in 1999 and played their first season there in 2000.
By Kevin Lonnquist
> View all of the 2008 MLB team previews from Pro Baseball Fans