Central Intelligence

Nothing can force change like losing to the lowly Astros. The Royals were swept by Houston last week, outscored 21-5 in three games. The Royals did not focus on the fact their pitching was poor. They looked at the offense, where they have fallen to last in the American League in slugging percentage, home runs and runs scored. Hitting coach Pedro Grifol was fired and replaced by third base coach Dale Sveum. The Royals have hit 24 home runs through Friday — 24!

• The Tigers signed Joe Nathan in hopes he would be the solution to the closing problem that has plagued them in recent seasons. But Nathan has already blown more saves and given up more home runs and earned runs than all of last season. The Tigers are definitely going to ride it out with Nathan, believing that he knows how to deal with the ups and downs that come with being the last man standing in the ninth. "With a guy who has been through it, like Joe, he can deal with these situations," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said.

• The White Sox are coming off of a sweep of the Cleveland Indians and have passed the Twins on the way to second place in the division. It's somewhat surprising, given how many young players they have used and the injuries they have had. And they are about to get a boost with the return of slugging first baseman Jose Abreu from left ankle inflammation. Abreu, batting .260 with 15 home runs and 42 RBI, will be fitted with a brace and is expected to play Monday when the White Sox visit the Dodgers.

• The Indians entered the weekend on a four-game losing streak during which they averaged 1.7 runs a game, but they scored seven runs Saturday.