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Central Intelligence: The Cleveland Indians are (basically) your 2018 AL Central champions

It would take a monumental collapse for the Indians to miss the playoffs.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, with only five weeks left in the regular season, unless the Cleveland Indians accidentally fly their team jet into the sun, it’s very hard to imagine much changing in the AL Central standings. The White Sox have an opportunity to overtake the Detroit Tigers for third place before the season is over, which would only benefit the Tigers by giving them a better draft selection. By all means, White Sox, strive for glory.

Cleveland Indians: 74-56

The Indians had a pretty weird week, all things considered. They kicked things off with a three-game series against the Red Sox, and managed to win two of three games against the AL East juggernauts. They then headed to Kansas City... and lost two of three against the dismal-at-best Royals. Baseball is weird.

The coming week could go incredibly well or very badly depending out the chips fall. The Indians will take on the Twins in a three-game series, before meeting up with the Rays for three games. At a glance this would look great for the Indians, but the Rays have won their last eight games and are also now the only team this season to sweep the seemingly unstoppable Red Sox.

Up Next: vs Twins (3 games); vs Rays (3 games)

Minnesota Twins: 61-69 (13 GB)

The strange split-stadium series with the White Sox didn’t do well for the Twins. In the single game played in Minneapolis, they lost, and then they split the two-game series in Chicago, each team managed a single win. Then the Athletics rolled into town and basically rolled over the Twins, winning three of the four games in the series.

Now the Twins have a three-game series in Cleveland to look forward to, followed by a three-game series in Texas against the Rangers.

Up Next: @ Indians (3 games); @ Rangers (3 games)

Detroit Tigers: 53-78 (21.5 GB)

It wasn’t a great week to be the Tigers. First they split their two-game series against the Cubs, which was actually pretty impressive. But they followed that up with a four-game series against The White Sox where they managed to win only one game out of the four. Sad they couldn’t get a win on Alan Trammell’s jersey retirement day.

The week ahead isn’t likely to be much better, with a short two-game series against the Royals being the only high point, before the Tigers move on to New York for a four-game series against the Yankees. Which will probably not go well for the Tigers.

Up Next: @ Royals (2 games); @ Yankees (4 games)

Chicago White Sox: 51-79 (23 GB)

Since the White Sox faced only division rivals this week, we know how things went for them, and the answer is: pretty well. They took two of three games against the Twins in a bizarre split-stadium series, then headed to Detroit and took three of four against the Tigers over Players’ Weekend.

The week ahead they will also have to face the Yankees, for three games, before a Sox v Sox matchup that will see the White Sox inviting Boston to town for four games. Which... yikes. Godspeed, White Sox.

Up Next: @ Yankees (3 games); vs Red Sox (4 games)

Kansas City Royals: 40-91 (34.5 GB)

Since I can’t just post tumbleweed gifs here every week, let’s actually see how the Royals did last week. For starters they faced the Rays for four games and managed to help make history: in that it was the first time the Rays have ever swept a four-game series at home. Then the Royals faced the Indians and actually managed to win two of those three games, proving nothing is predictable and no one knows anything.

The week ahead sees the Royals playing host to the Tigers for a short two-game series before they face the Orioles for a three-game series over the weekend. That one is sort of hard to predict. Someone will lose, and it’s probably whoever has to watch those games.

Up Next: vs Tigers (2 games); vs Orioles (3 games)