Cleveland has been a disappointment, but the starting rotation is coming around. In the Indians’ recently completed six-game homestand, the starters had 54 strikeouts and four walks. During the last two games of their series against the Cardinals, Cleveland held the NL Central leaders scoreless for 17 consecutive innings.

• • •

It’s scary to think, but the Royals bullpen might be better than last year. Kansas City entered Saturday with the majors’ lowest bullpen ERA at 1.61 and opponents’ batting average at .175. If the Royals have a lead after six innings, it’s almost always game over.

• • •

Playing with pain must be contagious in Detroit. Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera have done it, and now J.D. Martinez went 2-for-4 Thursday against the Twins despite a bad back that forced him out of Wednesday’s game.

• • •

The Micah Johnson experiment is over in Chicago, as the White Sox have demoted the rookie second baseman to Class AAA Charlotte and replaced him with Carlos Sanchez. Defense and baserunning errors did him in, but the team has more problems than Johnson.