How the Guardians rank in the AL Central after one month: Week in baseball

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The first month of the season is over and the AL Central, like MLB’s five other divisions, is still being shaped and reshaped.

The Twins, who went from first to last in 2021, will open May in first place with a three-game lead over the Guardians and Kansas City following Friday’s games. They are tied with the Mets for the largest division lead in the big leagues.

The Guardians finished second last year in their final season as the Indians. They went 80-82, ending an eight-year run of winning seasons.

Let’s take a team-by-team look at the division to date:

Twins: 11-9, first place.

Streak: Tampa Bay ended Minnesota’s seven-game winning streak Friday night, but they’ve won seven of their last 10 games.

What’s been good: The starting rotation, thought to be a weakness when the season opened, has been good. Joe Ryan (3-1, 1.17), Dylan Bundy (3-1, 0.59), Bailey Ober (1-1, 2.75), Chris Archer (0-0, 3.18) and Chris Paddack (0-2, 3.68) have pitched well. Sonny Gray (0-1, 5.68) has been on the injured list since mid-April with a right hamstring injury.

What’s been bad: Carlos Correa, the prime-time free agent shortstop that the Twins landed, is hitting .217 (15-for-69) with one homer and seven RBI.

Record in the AL Central: 7-2.

Guardians: 8-12, second place.

Streak: They ended a seven-game losing streak Friday night with a 9-8 win over the A’s. They have lost seven of their last 10 games.

What’s been good: Jose Ramirez carried the team through April. He’s hitting .360 (27-for-75), while leading the big leagues with 28 RBI and 57 total bases. The bullpen has been better than expected as well, going 5-4 with a 3.57 ERA. Trevor Stephan has not allowed an earned run or walk in 10 innings.

What’s been bad: The rotation, the backbone of manager Terry Francona’s club the last several years, is 3-8 with a 4.45 ERA. Aaron Civale, a 12-game winner last year, is struggling. DH Franmil Reyes is hitting .135 (10-for-74) and leading the big leagues with 35 stikeouts.

Record in the AL Central: 5-2.

Royals: 7-11, third place by percentage points.

Streak: They’ve lost six of their last 10 games.

What’s been good: Andrew Benintendi is hitting .391 (25-for-64). He’s only hit one homer, but has a .913 OPS.

What’s been bad: As a team the Royals are hitting .209. The rotation has a 4.36 ERA (12th in the AL) and the bullpen has a 5.10 ERA (15th in the AL). Plus they’ve lost shortstop Adalberto Mondesi to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Record in the AL Central: 7-6.

White Sox: 7-12, fourth place.

Streak: On April 16, the White Sox were 6-2 and had a two-game lead in the division. They’ve gone 1-9 since and have looked dreadful doing it.

What’s been good: The on-the-field results have not been what manager Tony La Russa wants, but the injury front is improving. Lucas Giolitto is back in the rotation and CF Luis Robert is back in the lineup. 3B Yoan Moncada and RHP Joe Kelly started their rehab assignments on Friday.

What’s been bad: Chicago’s powerful lineup, a lineup that won the AL Central last year, ranks last in the AL in batting average, onbase percentage and OPS. Defensively, Chicago and Baltimore lead MLB with 21 errors each.

Record in the AL Central: 3-9.

Tigers: 6-13, fifth place.

Streak: The Tigers have lost six straight and nine of their last 11. In the six-game losing streak, they’ve been outscored, 31-10.

What’s been good: Miguel Cabrera reached 3,000 hits on April 23 to go along with his 502 home runs. Tarik Skubal (1-2, 3.05) and Michael PIneda (1-1, 3.60) have helped the rotation and rookie Spencer Torkelson has shown some power at the plate.

What’s been bad: They rank last in the AL with eight homers and next to last (14th) in runs scored. Two of their best young starting pitchers, Casey Mize (right elbow) and Matt Manning (right shoulder), have reported to Lakeland, Fla. to begin their rehab programs. Shortstop Javy Baez, one of their big offseason acquisitions, is hitting .282 (11-for-39), but has appeared in only 10 games.

Record in the AL Central: 3-6.

Names to remember

Lefty Oliver Perez, who did a nice job out of the Indians’ pen from 2018 until he was released in 2021, has been released by Arizona.

OF Jordan Luplow, who played for the Indians for parts of three seasons from 2019-21, was activated by Arizona from the injured list on the same day Perez was released.

OF Eddie Rosario, who played a half-season for the Indians in 2021 before being traded to Atlanta and starring for the eventual World Series champions, needs surgery on his right eye and could miss eight to 12 weeks.

OF Trayce Thompson, who hit 24 homers for Class AAA Columbus in 2019, is back in the big leagues with San Diego.

RHP Carlos Carrasco, who pitched for the Indians from 2009-20, has walked two and struck out 23 over four starts for the Mets this year.

SS Francisco Lindor, who played for the Indians from 2015-20, is hitting .284 (23-for-81) with four homers, 13 RBI and a .859 OPS for the Mets this year.

OF Ka’ai Tom, who played in the Indians’ minor league system from 2014-19, was just promoted to the big leagues by the Giants.

RHP Dominic Leone, who pitched 18 games for the Indians in 2020, was placed on the COVID-19 injured list by the Giants. On April 16, Leone pitched a scoreless seventh inning and was credited a 4-2 win over the Guardians at Progressive Field.

Guardians merchandise for sale: Here’s where you can order new Cleveland Guardians gear, including T-shirts, hats, jerseys, hoodies, and much more.

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More Guardians coverage

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