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Central Intelligence: Tigers hold the throne

Let’s enjoy it.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

For a season where no one expected much out of the Tigers, their hot start to the year has been a welcome surprise. They haven’t lost a series yet — knock wood — and have found themselves in lucky positions against an injury-weakened Yankees lineup. But luck can only go so far, and they’ve had to work hard to get their wins. Fans have been impressed by the strong starting rotation, and the smoking bat of Christin Stewart, among others.

They are 7-3 over their last 10 games, and are hoping to maintain a claim on the top of the division for as long as they can.

But the Cleveland Indians, who the Tigers will face this week in a three-game series, aren’t interested in being anywhere but first place, and after a slow start they are ready to knock the Tigers down off the throne of first place.

Let’s take a look at the last week and see how the AL Central is shaking out, and what lays ahead.

Detroit Tigers (7-3)

The Tigers should have had a much harder start to the week last week, facing the Yankees in the Bronx for three games. But with several injuries plaguing the team, the Tigers took advantage of a weakened lineup and managed to take two of three games before heading back to Detroit. In the home opener series against the Royals, the offense came alive with several high-scoring games, and the Tigers swept the floundering Kansas City club and started their home stint on a high note.

This week they’ll face two AL Central rivals — with the next best records in the division — so the series wins aren’t going to come easy, and we’ll see a real test of what the 2019 Tigers have to offer.

Up Next: vs. Indians (3 games); @ Twins (3 games)

Cleveland Indians (6-3)

In spite of some losses their first week of the season, the Indians had two strong series last week and are hoping to ride that momentum right into the Motor City. The Indians split a two-game series against the White Sox, then swept the Jays for a four-game series to round out the week.

The Tigers won’t go quietly though. After a series sweep of their own, they’ll also be hoping to keep the win-train rolling. After three games against the Tigers, the Indians will head to Kansas City to try their luck against a sluggish Royals club.

Up Next: @ Tigers (3 games); @ Royals (3 games)

Minnesota Twins (5-3)

The Twins had a mixed bag of luck last week. They started things off with a short two-game series against the Royals, which they were able to sweep, but then they headed to Philadelphia where the Phillies took two-of-three games, one a harsh 10-4 victory. They’re coming off that series loss and looking ahead to even more interleague action.

They’ll start the week in New York, facing off against the Mets for a two-game series, before they head back home to Minneapolis for a potentially very snowy series against the Tigers.

Up Next: @ Mets (2 games); vs. Tigers (3 games)

White Sox (3-6)

The White Sox have had, potentially, the opposite luck to the Tigers this past week, where the teams they were facing had a lot to prove and did so with vigor. In their short two-game series against the Indians, they got swept, and while one game in their four-game series against the Mariners was postponed to a later date, the Seattle club came into Chicago and managed to take two-of-three from the Sox in three high-scoring games.

The White Sox already started their week against the Rays, and have already lost a game. They’ll see the AL East leaders for two more games before heading off to New York to see the Yankees in a three-game series.

Up Next: vs Royals (2 more games); @ Yankees (3 games)

Kansas City Royals (2-7)

Oh Royals. Poor Royals. Last week they were swept not once — in a two-game series against the Twins — but TWICE — in a three-game series against the Tigers. This week they’ll be hoping to just win a game or two, but they aren’t off to a promising start.

They’ve already lost game one of a three-game series against the Mariners, and then the Cleveland Indians will come to Kansas City. Neither team is going to offer easy wins for the Royals.

Up Next: vs. Mariners (2 more games); vs. Indians (3 games)