Sunday Insider: Central Intelligence

  • Updated: May 4, 2014 - 12:06 AM

Moustakas #8 of the Kansas City Royals poses during Photo Day on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Bernacchi/MLB Photos via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mike Moustakas ORG XMIT: 159449626

 

Anyone who has seen the numbers knows that one way to beat the Tigers is to grind it out against the starting rotation to get to that bullpen, which has been a playpen so far this year. What’s good for Detroit is that a team can acquire bullpen help without giving up too much. On Friday, the Tigers signed Joel Hanrahan to a one-year, $1 million contract that includes the chance to earn $2 million more in incentives. Hanrahan has been out since last May because of Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery and is still a few weeks away from playing, but he could be a boost to a bullpen that could use a setup man.

• • •

Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is in trouble. He’s a gifted defensive player and has the potential to be a top run producer. But he entered Saturday batting just .156 and was in danger of losing some starts at third base. That’s a big blow to a team that needs Moustakas to be part of the core group that will end Kansas City’s postseason drought.

• • •

It’s a mild surprise that Cleveland finished April 11-17 and in last place in the division. No need to panic after one month, especially when no one is running away with the Central. The only problem is that Cleveland is not playing well defensively, which might not be a fluke. And, if the Indians don’t improve in the field, their defense will cost them games and possibly a shot at the postseason. Now, Cleveland went 11-13 in April last season and still won 92 games. But this year could be different. In addition to defense, the starting rotation has been inconsistent, the Indians just went 0-6 on a recent West Coast trip and Jason Kipnis landed on the DL on Friday because of an oblique strain.

• • •

Jose Abreu has not had much of an adjustment period to major league baseball in his first season since fleeing from Cuba. Entering Saturday, Abreu was batting .333 with two doubles, four home runs and 12 RBI in his previous seven games.

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