AL Central Weekly: Chicago Gains Ground, Hochevar Lights Out


Chicago: The White Sox are back on top this week and rightfully so, considering they had a solid week to gain some ground in the AL Central. Inner-league play was not too kind to them, but they did take last weekend’s series against the Brewers before taking two of three from the Twins and two from the Yankees.

The Sox rotation was solid this past week and Wednesday was huge for the offense as the Chicago bats combined for 21 hits against Minnesota.

White Sox Pitcher of the Week: Gavin Floyd

Floyd pitched his second-straight shutout start on Tuesday as he went seven innings and surrendered just five hits while striking out nine. Consistency has been an issue for Floyd, but the tail end of June has looked good for him as he’s managed to lower his ERA below 5.00 at 4.80.

White Sox Hitter of the Week: Alex Rios

Rios went on an absolute tear this past week and I’m incredibly grateful my Cleveland Indians didn’t have to face him. Through his last seven games and 31 at-bats, Rios had 14 hits, including two home runs and six RBIs. Oh, and he also stole three bases. Rios is now hitting .306 this season and had an overall solid month of June as he hit .350 through his last 30 games.

Cleveland: Not a good week for the Cleveland Indians. They dropped two of three to the Astros (yes, you read that right) before getting swept by the Yankees in the Bronx. The obvious issue that the line-up can’t handle lefty pitching has become excruciating and the bullpen woes aren’t any better. Friday’s loss of Lonnie Chisenhall is also a knife in the back as Chisenhall was plunked by a pitch that fractured his wrist. Chisenhall will undergo surgery and be out for at least four weeks.

Indians Pitcher of the Week: Ubaldo Jimenez

Choosing a Tribe starter this week was difficult, being that no one was really outstanding. That being said, I chose Jimenez because he at least managed to put together another tolerable performance, and he’s the one starter who has received the most criticism.

Jimenez allowed four runs on four hits and four walks against the Yankees on Wednesday. That’s the bad news. The good news is that he struck out seven and the home run he allowed can barely considered his fault – Robinson Cano hit a pitch that was so far off the plate, it wasn’t even on the black. In other words, Robinson Cano isn’t human.

The walks are still an issue for Jimenez but his mechanics are still a project in the works. Actually, mechanics will probably always in a work in progress for Jimenez, so at this point in time, six innings and four runs (two of which occurred on Cano’s unreal home run) is enough to leave me content with Jimenez, who looks to be finding more of a groove.

Tribe Hitter of the Week: Jason Kipnis

Kipnis has had some up and down moments at the dish this season, but one thing is always certain – he finds a way to make things happen. That being said, Kipnis had a better week as he hit .346 through his last seven games. That includes four RBIs and a stolen base. Kipnis is now hitting .279 on the year with 18 stolen bases.

Detroit: The Tigers went 3-3 this past week as they faced the Rangers and the Rays. The offense seemed to be working while some of the starters struggled. Drew Smyly and Doug Fister compiled a pair of poor starts while Justin Verlander was stellar on Sunday but allowed three home runs on Friday.

Tigers Starter of the Week: Rick Porcello

Porcello was certainly not dominant or overbearing on Monday, but the fact that he was able to keep the opposing Texas Rangers line-up to just one run on six hits is admirable. Porcello also fanned seven and walked three. Though he gives up a lot of hits, and though his ERA it still up there at 4.71, he has not allowed more than four runs through his last 10 starts.

Tigers Hitter of the Week: Miguel Cabrera

Austin Jackson had the highest average for the Tigers during the last seven games, but Jackson also struck out 11 times during that period. Cabrera, on the other hand, only struck out four times while posting a .370 average on the week with two home runs and seven RBIs. This gives Cabrera a .309 season average and .904 OPS.

Kansas City: It was a good week for the Royals as they swept the Rays and won their first game against the Twins on Friday. Both elements of the game seemed to work for them as the offense put up some runs and the starters were strong.

Royals Pitcher of the Week: Luke Hochevar

Hochevar was lights out on Monday as he went the full nine against the Rays. Hochevar yielded seven hits and a walk, but prevented any runs from crossing the dish as he struck out eight.

Hochevar’s ERA is still at 5.07 but the second half of June was good to him after a rocky month of May.

Royals Hitter of the Week: Alex Escobar

Escobar was unstoppable through his last six games as he hit 12-for-20 with four doubles and a home run. Escobar’s bat has been good all year as he hit .295 in the month of April and .310 through May. Presently, he’s hitting .318 on the year and his .349 June average suggests that his offensive prowess will carry over into July.

Minnesota: The Twins are 2-3 so far this week as they currently remain 11 games back in the basement of the AL Central. They’re 12-13 in the month of June with a Saturday double-header against the Royals remaining, which gives them a good opportunity to gain some ground.

Twins Pitcher of the Week: Francisco Liriano

Liriano’s at it again as he put together another great outing on Monday to pick up his second win of the season. He provided the Twins with seven innings and allowed just one run on four hits and two walks while fanning five. It seems that starting has gone well for Liriano in June as he has not allowed more than four hits in an outing this month.

Twins Hitter of the Week: Joe Mauer

Here’s a guy I wasn’t expecting to write about here. Mauer’s bat has come to life as of late as he hit 10-for-24 through his last six games. He still only has three home runs on the year, but his average is now at .324 and he is quietly reverting back to his old ways of offense. In fact, Mauer hit .400 in the month of June and he is finding ways to get on base as his OBP total .415 on the year.

You can follow Stephanie on Twitter @SKMetzger to hear her whine about the Indians and muse about life. Also, become a fan of MTAF on Facebook.


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