Even after their tough loss last night, the Indians are still owners of the best record in the American League, although a couple of teams are nipping right at their heels — most importantly, the Royals.
Meanwhile the Yankees sit atop the East while the rest of the division tries to figure out how to play .500, and in the West, the Halos have overtaken the Rangers for the division lead.
Welcome to another edition of the baseball standings update as we head into the fourth weekend of the 2011 season.
American League Central -
Cleveland Indians (13-6 .684 0 Games Behind) The Indians come off of a tough, last at-bat loss to the Royals last night, but still lead the Central by a game over Kansas City after splitting a four-game series in Missouri. Cleveland next heads to Minnesota to take on the Twins in a three-game series. The Twins have been stumbling, but they will be ready for the Tribe.
Kansas City Royals (12-7 .632 1 Game Behind) After staying right behind the Indians in dramatic fashion last night, Kansas City has a tough test this weekend when they travel to Texas to take on the Rangers in a three-game set before heading to Cleveland for a rematch with the Tribe next week.
Detroit Tigers (9-10 .474 4 Games Behind) After taking two-of-three in Seattle, the Tigers come home to face the Chicago White Sox in a battle between two teams at present fighting for third place in the AL Central.
Chicago White Sox (8-11 .421 5 Games Behind) The White Sox finally broke a seven-game by skid that threatened to bury them in the cellar of the division by salvaging the final game of four in Tampa and are suddenly a win away from moving into a tie for third as they head into Detroit for a three-game set between Cleveland’s division rivals.
Minnesota Twins (7-12 .368 6 Games Behind) The Twins are stumbling along five games under .500 after splitting a four-game set in Baltimore, but the fact is, Minnesota has played only five home games, so their record might need the codicil that a little home-cooking could right their season. We will test that codicil this weekend when the Indians go to Target Field for a three-game set that the Twins would love to win, to keep the Tribe in sight.
American League East -
New York Yankees (10-6 .625 0 Games Behind) The Yankees went to Toronto for an abbreviated two-game series and got a split, losing on Tuesday when Mariano Rivera blew his first save of the season but bouncing back on Wednesday. The Bronx Bombers now head to Baltimore for three with the Orioles.
Tampa Bay Rays (9-10 .474 2.5 Games Behind) Tampa came all the way back from a 1-8 start to reach .500 on Wednesday, before dropping the last of four games with Chicago to dip back below break-even, but seem to have righted their ship. The Rays now go to Toronto for three against the Blue Jays.
Baltimore Orioles (8-10 .444 3 Games Behind) Baltimore, after a 6-1 start, endured an eight-game slide before splitting a four-game set with the Twins and have now won two of three. The Birds now entertain the Yankees for three, in a series that might well determine if the Orioles can stay alive beyond April in the AL East.
Toronto Blue Jays (8-10 .444 3 Games Behind) The Jays have lost two-of-three this week, falling to Boston and then splitting two with New York, and find themselves tied for third with Baltimore, as they get set to entertain second-place Tampa Bay. Win at least two-of-three and Toronto will pass the Rays.
Boston Red Sox (7-11 .389 4 Games Behind) The Red Sox, after their dreadful 2-10 start, have won five of six, including the last two — one in Oakland and the second in Anaheim, where Boston continues a four-game set against the Angels through the weekend.
American League West –
Los Angeles Angels (12-7 .632 0 Games Behind) The Angels went into Texas and won two of three to take over first place, before losing last night at home to Boston, and will try to regain their momentum in a four-game series with the Red Sox that runs through Sunday.
Texas Rangers (11-7 .611 .5 Games Behind) The defending American League champs have stumbled since starting 9-1, having won only two of their past eight games. That slide includes losing two-of-three at home to the Angels this week to fall out of first place in the West. The Rangers welcome the Kansas City Royals to town for three games this weekend.
Oakland Athletics (9-10 .474 3 Games Behind) Oakland began the week by splitting two games with the Red Sox before falling under .500 last night with a 1-0 loss at Seattle in the opener of a four-game weekend series against the Mariners.
Seattle Mariners (7-13 .350 5.5 Games Behind) The Mariners are in a lonely place at present, mired in the cellar of the West and a winning-streak away from seeing even third place, but Seattle, after losing two-of-three to the Tigers, defeated Oakland last night to creep a little closer in the first of a four-game series in Seattle.
The National League sees one really tight race from top to bottom and one race that is morphing into a two-team battle, while a third race features a team that has the largest lead in the majors at present.
That largest lead would belong to the Colorado Rockies (13-5), who lead the West by three full games over the World Champion San Francisco Giants (10-8). Meanwhile, in the East, the Philadelphia Phillies (12-6) have only a half-game lead over the Florida Marlins (11-6).
The NL Central right now is the most interesting division, as all six teams are bunched within three games of each other — in other words, sixth place in the Central is as far behind as is second place in the West. The Cincinnati Reds and the St.Louis Cardinals are tied atop the Central at 10-9, with the Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers tied for third, only a half-game back at 9-9. In fifth place but only two back are the Pittsburgh Pirates (8-11), while the Houston Astros (7-12) are sixth, but — as said — only three games from the top.