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2014 Previews: The American League Central

Mar 31, 2014, 9:40 AM EDT

Miguel Cabrera Getty Images

For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2014 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central.

The Tigers always start the season as big favorites, but always seem to go down to the last week before clinching. Same script this year? Who’s their biggest challenge this year: the Indians or the Royals? The White Sox got better, but did they get relevant? The Twins, alas, are the Twins. Anything at all to look forward to there?

Below are our team-by-team previews for the AL Central as well as our HBT Extra feature on the division:

Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Cleveland Indians
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Opening Day’s games (March 31). It’s $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 1:05pm ET on Opening Day. Here’s the FanDuel link.

  1. kcrobert10 - Mar 31, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    Detroit still wins cause lets face it they have pitching. The royals finish 2 miss the wild card by a few games. Indians slide backwards this yr with loss of pitching. White sox finish ahead of the twins.

    • happytwinsfan - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      we’ll see what happens when the undefeated, untied 2014 Minnesota Twins clash with the winless 2014 chicago whitesox this afternoon.

  2. cincinata - Mar 31, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    With all of the talk about KC, Detroit still has most of the talent in this division. They only problem they have is losing a lot of games to Boston, who owns the Tigers. Still, in the central and out west, they are king of the hill. One problem remains, and that is to get a reliable closer and some decent long term relief. It helps if the starters can go long without throwing too many pitches. I don’t know if this Spring helped them or not.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 31, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      Actually, during the regular season last year, the Tigers were up on the Red Sox (4 games to 3). The only time the Sox seemed to “own” the Tigers was in the post-season when our best hitter was playing injured (as was our short stop apparently) and thanks to a number of relief pitchers who are no longer on our roster. But, go ahead and take the playoffs completely out of context. I’m sure you think they somehow “own” the Cardinals too.

      • cincinata - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:34 AM

        No, I am speaking of long term. The Tigers have traditionally been patsies for the Red Sox over the last thirty years with a few exceptions. We will see if it changes this season. The redbirds have only themselves to blame for last years loss in the WS. Both of the games they lost they should have won, but they had to rely on rookie pitching too much. Any HR by Gomes in a clutch situation like he was in was a total failure of the rookie on the mound, as was the double by Ross on the next day. That never should have happened, but the Cardinals had to rely on rookies too much on their staff. Even the normally reliable Wacha lost badly in game 6 in Beantown.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 31, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        If you just came over to this post to be insulting, congratulations, you have successfully demonstrated that you’re a jerk. Now, why don’t you discuss the AL Central, as this post is about? If you just want to go on about Red Sox awesomeness, there’s another post for that.

        Damn, some of the folks on here make me root for the Yanks again.

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 31, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        Did someone say “Red Sox awesomeness”??

        I was just walking by and I could have sworn I heard someone say “Red Sox awesomeness.”

        Sawks v. Tiggers – 1901-present: 1,026-957
        2008-2013: 27-16

        That was a fun exercise. Awesome!

  3. jsally430 - Mar 31, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Don’t sleep on the royals they have the best young talent in the division. Reminds me of the twins on the early two thousands

  4. nflfollower - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    If detroits bullpen is even average they take the central easily.

    • cincinata - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:35 AM

      Agree, but have they improved from last year? Don’t know what happened off season and ST.

      • spursareold - Mar 31, 2014 at 3:12 PM

        The got rid of Valverde, which is at LEAST addition by subtraction.

  5. sportsdrenched - Mar 31, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    If I’m being rational I have to go DET-KC-CLE-CHW-MIN

    And that dash between DET-KC should be two dashes. The Royals even won the season series with Detroit (10 to 9) last season, but over a 162 games it’s hard to beat a team whose number TWO starter is the defending Cy Young. Never mind that Cabrera guy.

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