Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

AL Central Watch: Sept. 3

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Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the American League Central.

The Twins' 14-game trip winds down with two games in Toronto. Entering the trip, the Twins would have been pleased with a 7-7 record. To reach that goal, they must win the two remaining games against the Blue Jays. After blowing leads in Seattle and Oakland, the Twins did it again Tuesday night, wasting a four-run edge in their 7-5 loss. Meanwhile, Matt Tolbert's crazy rehab stint finally came to an end.

How far have the Indians come? They are 9 1/2 back, the first time their deficit in the Central has been less than double digits since June 29. Do they have a realistic shot at being this season's Rockies? Probably not, but if they stay hot, they could help determine the race. Aside from the series finale today, the Indians close the season against the White Sox with three games in Chicago. They also have three games left against the Twins.

The Tigers' season has gone south -- and the once-favored team faces the very real prospect of finishing with a losing record -- but manager Jim Leyland isn't letting things slip quietly down the drain. He called out pitcher Justin Verlander, suggesting the star pitcher needs to take more credit after his own losses. I recall Ozzie Guillen saying something similar about Jon Garland in 2005. Here's what Leyland said about Verlander: ''You need to have the ability every once in a while to say, 'I stunk' -- not that the strike zone was tight. You have to say, 'You know what? I was horse [manure].' It's OK, because we're all horse [manure] from time to time. It's good to admit that you're horse [manure] sometimes. ... You turn the page and try to move on. Diversionary tactics are not good.''

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The AL Central is looking very much like the NL Central was last year. It's up for the White Sox and Twins taking but neither team seems to be taking advantage of the breaks they're giving each other. I am a hardcore White Sox fan, but if they keep on playing mediocre baseball, I'd rather them just fade away now as opposed to a huge let down during the last week of the season. Buehrle needs to step it up and be the consisten starter he's been for many years now, Denks needs shake off his last two starts, the bullpen needs to tighten up and our defense needs to stop committing so many errors.


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This page contains a single entry by Chris De Luca published on September 3, 2008 10:59 AM.

Ugly loss ... again was the previous entry in this blog.

AL Central Watch: Sept. 4 is the next entry in this blog.

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