The AL Central has turned into the most exciting division in all of baseball as three teams are separated by a single game. The Cleveland Guardians have played well since the All-Star game and now lead the Minnesota Twins by a game as well as have a one-game edge over the suddenly surging Chicago White Sox.
This has been a close division race for most of the season, but now it is an absolute nailbiter. The best part is that not only are these three teams battling for the top record in the division, but the losers may still have a very good shot at an AL wildcard berth, as Minnesota and Chicago are 1.0 games out of that chase as well.
Odds To Win The AL Central
The Cleveland Guardians (+145) hold the top spot in the division at the time this article was written, 1.0 games ahead of both the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox. However, they are given slightly worse odds of winning the division then Chicago. The pitching staff for Cleveland has been spectacular in August, posting a 3.21 ERA, helping them to a 10-6 record to the first 16 games. They have walked just 29 batters while striking out 149 through the first 146.0 innings pitched. Plus, the offense has been impressive, posting a .252 batting average and have scored 64 runs through the first 16 games, 4.00 runs per contest.
This seems to have made Cleveland the team to beat, but the numbers for Chicago are actually a bit better. The Chicago White Sox (+142) are also 10-6 in August, posting a 2.98 ERA. That is impressive, and so is the fact that they have the second-best batting average this month (.278). That has not helped this club produce runs, however, as they have just 58 in 16 games, an average of 3.63 runs per contest. It has been a lack of power that has hurt the team, as they have just 13 home runs in August and have walked just 37 times while striking out 123 times. That seems to still make Cleveland the team to beat.
The Minnesota Twins (+245) were holding the division lead coming out of the All-Star break, but an 11-11 mark since then and a 4.19 ERA has this team scrapping to try to stay relevant. They are just 1.0 games behind in both the wildcard and division races, but this is the team that looks the least likely to win either. The offense has been doing their part, however, hitting .260 in August with 78 runs scored in 16 games, nearly five runs per contest.
For the Kansas City Royals (+100,000) and the Detroit Tigers (+112,500) it is wait until next year. Kansas City has 14.5 games out at the time this article was written while Detroit is 18 back. With 45 games left it would’ve already been difficult enough for one of these teams to try to move up the standings, but to try to jump over three teams to get to the top makes that a complete impossibility.
It should be an exciting race down the stretch, and do not be surprised if it is Cleveland that wins this division.