MLB Notebook: Who is going to win the abysmal AL Central division?
Photo credit:© Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports
3 months ago
Welcome back to MLB Notebook, brought to you by The Batter’s Box Podcast! In this column, we’ll examine news and notes from around Major League Baseball — oftentimes through a Toronto Blue Jays-tinted lens.
Chris Sale headed to 60-day IL
The Boston Red Sox announced Friday that pitcher Chris Sale is headed to the 60-day Injured List.
Sale left his June 1st start against the Cincinnati Reds after just 3.2 innings pitched. It’s another frustrating injury to the southpaw, who has been riddled with injury troubles since coming to the Red Sox from Chicago.
Sale’s latest injury comes in the midst of what looked like a solid bounce back campaign after he pitched just 5.2 innings in 2022. Sale had allowed just eight runs in his last five starts while striking out 26 over that span.
With Hendriks back, could the White Sox win the AL Central?
Liam Hendriks returning to the Chicago White Sox bullpen is great news for every baseball fan, regardless of who you root for. Because regardless of who you root for, it’s even easier to root for Liam Hendriks.
Hendriks, who has emerged as one of the best closing pitchers in the game, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in December of 2022. After a well-documented battle, Hendriks announced he was cancer free on April 21st.
And less than two months later, Hendriks is back on the mound. Hendriks made his return on May 29th and allowed two runs while pitching in a low-leverage situation. Hendriks didn’t shy away from the challenges that followed, however, as he jumped right back into it and got right back to work four days later, when he pitched a scoreless inning against the Tigers. Hendriks earned his first win of the season a day later against those same Tigers, and two days later, he picked up his first save of the season against the Yankees.
Hendriks’ return comes at a welcome time, as after a tough start to the season, the White Sox find themselves just 3.5 games back of the Minnesota Twins for the top spot in the AL Central. As of Friday, every team in the AL Central has a losing record, as the division is not only the worst in baseball, but one of the worst in pro sports as a whole.
The White Sox will battle with the Guardians and Twins — and maybe even the Detroit Tigers — down the stretch of the season for the honour of finishing as the first place team in the worst division in baseball and locking down a playoff spot.
The White Sox are hoping that Tim Anderson finds another level of offence, and that Kendall Graveman continues to be a strong option coming out of the bullpen. Luis Robert Jr. has been a difference maker for them, and Jake Burger is playing the best baseball of his life. It’s not hard to imagine that the White Sox can keep it rolling and manage to squeak into the postseason by capturing the AL Central title.
We talked about this and much more in the first episode of the Batter’s Box Podcast, available on both Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
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