Cleveland: After last week’s disastrous encounter with the Reds down in Cincinnati and a losing series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Indians have clawed their way back to first place. It seems as if the front end of the starting rotation is starting to put things together, while the back end tails in the opposite direction.
Indians Pitcher of the Week: Justin Masterson
I was fortunate enough to witness Nasty Masty’s performance at The Jake on Wednesday, and even from my seat down the right field line, his sinker looked fantastic. Masterson went the full nine yards and recorded nine strikeouts against the Reds, while yielding just three hits and a run.
What was most significant about Masterson’s performance was the fact that he saved the Indians’ bullpen, which was in desperate need of some rest. On Tuesday, the night before Masterson’s start, the team used five of its seven bullpen arms, leaving just Tony Sipp and Jeremy Accardo. Masterson gave the relievers some rest and looked outstanding the entire way through, especially as he struck out Joey Votto looking to end the game.
Indians Hitter of the Week: Lonnie Chisenhall
The Chiz Kid had a good week as he went 7-for-17 through five games. He came just a double shy of the cycle on Monday and racked up six RBIs during the week while striking out just once. More importantly, his swing is looking good and he told reporters on Monday that he’s feeling confident at the dish.
Chicago: The White Sox let their Central Division lead slip as they’ve lost five straight series. This past week, they dropped two of three to the Cubs. The White Sox arms struggled on Monday as starter Zach Stewart surrendered six runs on nine hits, including four home runs. Luckily for the Sox, Gavin Floyd rebounded for them on Wednesday as he gave up no runs on four hits to snag at least one win from the Cubs.
White Sox Pitcher of the Week: Jake Peavy
Despite receiving the loss on Tuesday, Peavy pitched nine innings of solid baseball. He gave up five hits and two runs, though only one was earned. Peavy actually outpitched Cubs’ starter Travis Wood, but a two-run third inning was the nail in the Peavy’s coffin.
White Sox Hitter of the Week: Alexei Ramirez
Ramirez had another good week as he’s raking to lift his average. He hit .500 through his last five games with four RBIs. He was the only White Sox hitter to hit above .300 during the past seven games, except for starter Phil Humber, who hit 1-for-2 during an interleague start.
Detroit: The Tigers currently sit 3.5 games back in the AL Central race as they managed to take two of three from the St. Louis Cardinals this past week. The Detroit starters all pitched pretty well while the offense was pretty cool, and their defense is still – well, you know.
Tigers Pitcher of the Week: Max Scherzer
Scherzer was dominant on Sunday against the Rockies as he went eight innings. He surrendered seven hits, but no runs crossed the dish and he fanned 12. Scherzer’s ERA took a dive from 5.76 to 5.17 in that outing and he’s starting to rack up the strikeouts.
Tigers Hitter of the Week: Quentin Berry
I know there’s been a lot of discussion regarding Berry’s time in the majors. Some seem to think he needs more time in the minors while others have boarded the Berry bandwagon. Either way, the kid had a good week.
Through 21 at-bats, Berry hit .381 and swiped a base. However, he did strike out six times. What can’t go unnoticed, though, is his .309 average. His OPS is a bit low, but for a rookie, he’s showing signs of life and continuing to make a case for himself as a full-time big leaguer.
Kansas City: The Royals snagged two of three from the Cardinals over the weekend before also taking two from the Astros. While the KC offense has not been lighting things up, the pitching has managed to do some damage control as the staff has managed to keep the runs allowed at a minimum.
Royals Pitcher of the Week: Luke Hochevar
Hochevar went 7.2 on Tuesday and kept the Astros to just five hits. He walked four, but fanned six as he put together his second straight solid outing. His ERA is still 5.65 as he continues to struggle with consistency, but he seems to be improving since his struggles in early May.
Royals Hitter of the Week: Mike Moustakas
Moustakas hit .360 through his last six games, which included a home run and four RBIs. He’s raised his average to .274 and he’s already breached his RBI total of last season (30) with 33.
Minnesota: The Twins remain in the basement at nine games back, and they can’t seem to win a series. After this weekend, they’ll need to fight hard as they’ll face division rivals in the White Sox and Royals. If they want to gain any ground, they’ll have to find a way to snag a few wins next week to preserve what little pride remains.
Twins Pitcher of the Week: Francisco Liriano
Liriano wasn’t dominant over Pittsburgh, but he certainly kept the Twins well-within the game through 6.2 innings of work. He surrendered just four hits and two walks on a run while striking out six. Liriano has gone at least six innings in four of his five starts, and the most hits he’s allowed is four. It looks like the old Liriano may be back, despite his 1-7 record.
Twins Hitter of the Week: Trevor Plouffe
Plouffe didn’t have the highest average for the Twins this past week, but I’m awarding him this due to the six walks he drew. In addition to those free passes, he also hit .318 through six games to give some life to his average, which finally reached the .250 mark.