View From the Center: A.L. Central Aces
Welcome to "View From the Center", where our resident pseudo-expert slash Cincinnati Reds fan Jeff Gentil takes a regular rundown of the topics of interest within baseball's divisional landscape. Last week, fabulous freshmen. This week, team aces.
Detroit Tigers: Justin Verlander hasn't been his usual dominant self, but at 5-4 record and a 3.75 ERA are good enough to be tops on the Tigers. Detroit is in the race for the division, but if they have any aspirations of overtaking the Twins, Verlander, along with Rick Porcello and Jeremy Bonderman, is going to have to be more consistent.
Chicago White Sox: With Mark Buehrle and Jake Peavy struggling, the door is wide open for someone to grab top honors for the White Sox. John Danks has arguably had a better season so far. Even though he has only won four games, his ERA is much better than the rest of the starters at 3.34 and his 1.21 WHIP is considerably better than the others.
Cleveland Indians: Fausto Carmona burst onto the scene in 2007 with a 19-8 season. Since then he's been a disappointing 13-19 the last two years. This year he's started bouncing back with a 4-3 record, and his 3.70 ERA is very encouraging considering the last two seasons of 5.45 and 6.32 respectively.
Kansas City Royals: What does it say when the Royals have three starters (Luke Hochevar, Brian Bannister, and Kyle Davies) who are over .500 and none of them are named Zach Greinke (who happens to be 1-6)? While the Royals may be improved, they still need Greinke to be Greinke. In his defense his 3.39 ERA is easily the best on the staff, but he's not getting any run support.
Minnesota Twins: There is no clear cut ace at this point on the Twins' staff, but Francisco Liriano (5-3) has slightly better numbers than the rest. While Nick Blackburn is 6-2, his ERA (4.73) is almost a run and a half higher than Liriano (3.29). Liriano leads the team with 66 strikeouts, and has given up the fewest hits (66) and fewest homers (2).