A division that normally does not receive much hype, given the teams in it, their locations, and living in the shadow of big markets in the AL East and West, the AL central has quietly become the hottest division in baseball.  Three of its five teams, the Tigers, Indians, and Royals are all 9-1 in their last 10 games.  While such a streak may be expected of Detroit, Cleveland has been surprisingly solid all season, and Kansas City has appeared to have come out of nowhere.  Going into tonight’s games, the division standings look as such:

Detroit 64 45 .587 9-1 W8 37-19 27-26 8/4 vs CWS, W 3-2 8/5 @ CLE, 7:05 PM
Cleveland 62 49 .559 3.0 9-1 W2 37-19 25-30 8/4 @ MIA, W 2-0 8/5 vs DET, 7:05 PM
Kansas City 56 52 .519 7.5 4.5 9-1 W2 27-24 29-28 8/4 @ NYM, W 6-2 8/5 vs MIN, 8:10 PM
Minnesota 48 60 .444 15.5 12.5 5-5 W3 26-27 22-33 8/4 vs HOU, W 3-2 8/5 @ KC, 8:10 PM
Chi White Sox 40 69 .367 24.0 21.0 0-10 L10 22-28 18-41 8/4 @ DET, L 2-3 8/5 vs NYY, 8:10 PM
The Indians are chasing the Tigers in what is shaping up to be a tight race.
The Indians are chasing the Tigers in what is shaping up to be a tight race.

To make things even more exciting, the Tigers and Indians face off in a monumental four-game series beginning tonight.  Now in a division where every win counts, this series presents a huge opportunity for the Indians, who are three games back of the Tigers, to gain some ground in their home ballpark where they are 37-19.

And then there’s the Royals, who are on fire and receiving none of the credit.  Sitting at 56-52 and seven and a half games back out of first, Kansas City faces the measly Twins in a three-game series that is a big opportunity to put themselves right up there with the top two.  If the Royals were to sweep the Twins, and the Indians take three out of four, Kansas City would be just four games out of first.  A feat highly unlikely, but sure to thicken an already fatty pot.

The stage is set for things to get juicy in the AL Central over the next two months.  A three-team race in a division in which Detroit was the clear early favorite makes for great drama, and beautiful baseball.