Let’s start this month’s recap right down the middle with the Central divisions.
- Milwaukee Brewers (43-39)
The NL Central has been a dumpster fire this season and the Brewers have capitalized. Four games over .500 wouldn’t have made the cut anywhere in the NL in 2016, but it might just win the division this season.
- Chicago Cubs (40-40)
The Cubs notched their first month of the season over .500 in June. Despite the success, there’s still dysfunction in the champs’ clubhouse as backup catcher Miguel Montero was designated for assignment “for being a bad teammate” after he called out his pitchers for their inability to keep runners from stealing. As expected, Montero and his .286 batting average didn’t clear waivers and he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays.
- St. Louis Cardinals (38-41)
Despite dropping seven of their first eight in June, the Cardinals managed to turn things around and picked up five of their last six in the month. First baseman Matt Carpenter had a fantastic June by slugging .505 with 10 doubles and five dingers. Not a bad way to go after a May slump.
- Pittsburgh Pirates (37-43)
Outfielder Startling Marte is eligible to return from his 80-game PED suspension July 18. At five games back, a late-season push for the division isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but it’s not likely as the Pirates will probably continue to fall before Marte’s return.
- Cincinnati Reds (34-45)
The Reds aren’t a bad offensive team, sitting in the top half of the bigs in nearly every offensive category. The pitching, however, has been horrendous and Cincinnati is dead last in team ERA at 5.24.
- Cleveland Indians (42-36)
The defending AL champs had a good June with a 15-12 record, and took over possession of first place during a six-game win streak. The pitching has been stellar for the Indians, as they are sitting top-five in all major categories and tie the Los Angeles Dodgers for the MLB lead with eight total shutouts.
- Minnesota Twins (40-38)
Ace Ervin Santana came crashing back to Earth in June, as he finished 3-3 with a 6.03 ERA. The Twins seem to go as he goes, with a 14-15 record in June with a four-game sweep by the Indians.
- Kansas City Royals (39-39)
The Royals finally decided to show up for the season in June and posted a 17-9. Kansas City shot up the standings and won six in a row in the middle of the month where it outscored opponents by a total of 45-15.
- Detroit Tigers (35-43)
First baseman Miguel Cabrera improved in June from the first two months of the season with five homers, eight doubles, and 16 RBIs. However, it was still subpar by his own standards batting just .281.
- Chicago White Sox (35-44)
Pitching is killing the White Sox. The problem isn’t so much with base hits or even home runs, but walks. The ChiSox are tied for the second-highest in free passes per nine innings with 3.8.
Photo by Brigham Berthold