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Hot or Not: AL Central Edition

August is a month that can make or break a baseball team’s season. It’s officially too late for a team that’s hanging around .500 to legitimately have a shot at the postseason, unless said team plays in the NL West. There’s also the possibility for even more distance to be put between the haves and have-nots, as teams who shipped out their veterans at the trading deadline tank, and the contenders who benefited from those fire sales beat up on their weaker sisters. In that way, it’s telling to look at which players in the AL Central are putting it together this month, and which are falling apart. For your reading pleasure, we’ve divided them into two distinct groups, “HOT” and “NOT.”


Carlos Quentin, OF, Chicago White Sox
Quentin has put the Sox on his back this month, hitting .377 with 7 homers and 13 RBI so far, while getting on base at a .500 clip and slugging .811.

David Dellucci, OF, Cleveland Indians
Refusing to go down with the sinking Indian ship, Dellucci is hitting .441/.486/.824 for the month, hopefully setting himself up for a cherry platoon job on a contender next season.

Jason Kubel, OF/DH, Minnesota Twins
Kubel has flourished ever more as the season has gone on, and he’s hitting .360/.407/.640 with three homers and ten driven in in August. Between he and Denard Span, they’re making the Twins forget that Michael Cuddyer’s hurt.

Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers
As the Tigers fall out of contention, Cabrera’s finally starting to hit like his career totals would indicate he can. He’s ripping along at a .303/.387/.652 clip in August with six dingers and 16 ribbies.

Javier Vazquez, RHP, White Sox
With Jose Contreras hurt and Mark Buehrle struggling, the Sox needed help from their other starters, and they’re getting it from Vazquez, who’s 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA this month.

Cliff Lee, LHP, Indians
Lee continues his amazing march to the Cy Young, posting a 3-0 mark with a 1.50 ERA in his first three August starts. I get a kick out of looking at his fantasy stats online because he’s this year’s most dominant starter in the AL, and he probably wasn’t even drafted in 98% of all leagues.

Francisco Liriano, LHP, Twins
He’s been a little lucky so far since returning from the minors, but you can’t argue with the end results: 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA in three starts. His command continues to improve, and while the velocity isn’t back to his pre-Tommy John level, he’s still got enough on the ball to baffle hitters.

John Danks, LHP, White Sox
Danks is chipping in to keep the Sox on top, as well, with a 2-1 mark and 1.83 ERA on the month. His only loss was last week against the Red Sox, when he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning.


John Buck, C, Kansas City Royals
The Royals are having trouble making the jump from laughingstock to mediocre thanks in part to players like Buck, who’s catching nearly every day and is 3 for 46 in August.

Carlos Gomez, OF, Twins
Gomez was back in the lineup last night and homered, but he was 8 for his last 42 before that and was having trouble getting his name on the lineup card.

Andy Marte, 3B, Indians
Seen as a can’t miss prospect just a couple of years ago, Marte just can’t seem to capitalize on his opportunities. He’s hitting .190/.227/.262 this month as the Indians plummet.

Ken Griffey, Jr., DH/OF, White Sox
After making a splash by dealing for Griffey at the deadline, the Sox haven’t benefited much from his presence in the lineup. He’s 9 for 40 on the month, and all of those hits have been singles.

Matt Guerrier, RHP, Twins
It’s the bullpen’s failings that have kept the Twins from taking control of the race, and a lot of the blame can be laid at Guerrier’s feet. He’s pitch 5 1/3 innings of relief this month and has given up 12 earned runs, good for a 20.25 ERA.

Brian Bannister, RHP, Royals
For all the ink spilled about Bannister before the season and in April (including in this column), he’s been a pretty forgettable pitcher the rest of the time. His slide continues in August, where he’s 0-3 in three starts with a 12.75 ERA.

The Cleveland Bullpen Trio of Brendan Donnelly, Edward Mujica, and Masa Kobayashi
They’re keeping the memory of Joe Borowski alive, evenly distributing 5 1/3 innings pitched and 16 runs allowed among the three of them.

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