AL Wrapup: Central Division Wide Open For Streaking Royals and Tigers

Source: Keith Allison / Flickr Creative Commons

Entering this 2014 MLB season, the Detroit Tigers — coming off of back-to-back AL Central titles — were the favorites yet again in their division. They had hitting sensation Miguel Cabrera, reigning AL Cy Young winner Max Sherzer, and an offense that could put up runs. The pitching staff was deep (allegedly), and combined with Detroit’s offensive prowess, they were a force to be reckoned with in what was supposed to be an overall weak AL Central.

So following a six-game winning streak on May 18, nobody was surprised that the Tigers were up seven games on the second-place Kansas City Royals in the division. Reporters everywhere were practically giving Detroit the division, albeit the season wasn’t even a quarter of the way over.

But then the wheels fell off. Immediately following that six-game stretch in May, the Tigers proceeded to lose seven of their next eight games. As June kicked off, the division wasn’t a one-trick pony anymore — the Chicago White Sox were 2.5 games back of the Tigers on June 5, and the Cleveland Indians were just two games out of first place on June 9.

Fast forward to June 18, a week ago.