This is the time of year when things start to get interesting. Up until now the cumulative wins and losses of both leagues adds up to a .500 record, but now inter-league play starts, and if a team cannot hold their own in inter-league and other teams in their divisions excel, it can put a team in a hole.
When the Indians were winning six of seven division titles in the last '90s and early '00s it was due in large part to being dominant against the National League. In the past few years that has not been the case, and it has been reflected in the final record. But now in 2011, the Tribe is having a renaissance. It will be important for continued success to fare well in the 18 scheduled inter-league games that Cleveland will play in 2011.
Note: Since every American League team was scheduled to play back-to-back two-game series to begin this week, I will forgo being redundant and saying "X split two games with Y and swept two from Z". For this edition of our Standings Update, I will simply give the won/lost totals for each team for Monday through Thursday. Those totals will not always add up to four games, as weather did play a factor in early-week action. Also note that, since all series this weekend are three-game sets (no wraparound four-game series this time around), I will forgo saying "team X will play three this weekend against team Y". No sense numbing your mind with a bunch of redundancies with "twos" and "threes".
American League Central -
Cleveland Indians 26-15 .634 0 Games Behind -- The Tribe has gone 2-2 so far this week, and welcomes their downstate rivals to Progressive Field this weekend when the Cincinnati Reds come to Cleveland.
Detroit Tigers 22-21 .512 5 Games Behind -- The Tigers are looking for their first win of the week, having gone 0-3 thus far. Now Detroit goes to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates.
Kansas City Royals 21-22 .488 6 Games Behind -- The Royals pulled one out last night against Texas and has gone 1-3 this week. Kansas City is home this weekend to take on their in-state rivals when the St.Louis Cardinals pay a visit.
Chicago White Sox 20-25 .444 8 Games Behind -- The White Sox, after sweeping the Indians, are 3-1 this week, and now welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers to town, in a rematch of the 1959 World Series' opponents.
Minnesota Twins 15-27 .357 11.5 Games Behind -- The Twins have won three in a row and are 3-1 on the week, as they head to Arizona this weekend to take on the Diamondbacks.
American League East -
Tampa Bay Rays 25-19 .568 0 Games Behind -- The Rays have gone 2-2 so far this week, and now head to the Atlantic Coast-side of Florida to take on the Marlins this weekend.
New York Yankees 23-19 .548 1 Game Behind -- The Yankees have gone 3-1 on Monday-Thursday and now the action heats up in New York as the Mets come to the Bronx for an intense weekend series.
Baltimore Orioles 19-23 .452 5 Games Behind -- The Orioles are slipping back again, having gone 0-3 to start this week, Now it is time for a neighborhood rivalry of sorts when the Washington Nationals visit Baltimore this weekend.
American League West -
Texas Rangers 23-21 .523 0 Games Behind -- The Rangers have gone 2-2 at the beginning of the week but have overtaken the slumping Angels for first in the West. Texas now goes to the Keystone State to take on the Phillies in Philadelphia.
Oakland Athletics 22-22 .500 1 Game Behind -- The A's have also passed the Angels simply by going 2-2 to start the week. It will be fun and games this weekend when Oakland heads across the Bay to take on the San Francisco Giants in a renewal of a bitter rivalry.
Los Angeles Angels 22-23 .489 1.5 Games Behind -- It's hard to believe that this is the same team that has given the Indians so much trouble this year. The Angels have lost five straight and are 0-4 on the week, as they face the Atlanta Braves in Anaheim this weekend.
Seattle Mariners 19-24 .442 3.5 Games Behind -- It's anybody's division so far in the West as the Mariners, after slumping for much of the season, win a couple of games and find themselves only 3.5 out of first. Seattle has gone 3-1 this week and now travel to San Diego to take on the Padres.
In the National League Central, the St.Louis Cardinals (26-19) have climbed back into first, just ahead of the Cincinnati Reds (25-19). After these two teams there is quite a drop-ff to the Milwaukee Brewers (21-23) in third. Next are the Pittsburgh Pirates (20-23), while the Chicago Cubs (19-23) are fifth, with the Houston Astros (15-29) now sporting the worst record in the Majors and 10.5 games behind the Cardinals.
The National League East sees the Philadelphia Philles (26-17) leading the way, with the Florida Marlins (24-18) not too far behind. The same can be said of the Atlanta Braves (25-21). The New York Mets (21-22) enter the weekend a tick below .500, and the East sees the Washington Nationals (20-23) in last place.
Finally, the the National League West, the San Francisco Giants (24-19) have the thinnest of leads over the Colorado Rockies (23-19). The Arizona Diamondbacks (20-23) are improving and have slipped into third, while the Los Angeles Dodgers (20-25) are enduring struggles on and off the field and are five games back of the Giants. Fifth and last in the West are the San Diego Padres (19-25), just a half-game from dropping the Dodgers into the cellar.
And there is our look at the standings until Monday. This brief taste of inter-league play will only last the weekend, before a gap that will stretch until June 17, when the meat of the inter-league slate will kick in.