Thursday, June 14, 2012

White Sox announcer Steve Stone breaks down AL Central

White Sox announcer and Brush graduate Steve Stone took stock of the American League Central recently in a phone interview with The News-Herald.

Here’s his take on the Tigers, Indians and White Sox with the All-Star break fast approaching.

On the Tigers (29-33 and five games back on June 14)

“They still are a very good team, but they are having problems with the back end of their starting rotation. But when (Victor Martinez) comes back, they are going to be right there.

“What Detroit has is those two big guys (Prince Fielder, Miquel Cabrera) in the middle and they are going to get Victor Martinez back, and when you get him back ... if you looked at last year, he hit close to .400 with runners in scoring position last year.

“I anticipate Detroit will be there at the end.”

On the Indians (32-29 and 1.5 games back on June 14)

“I love the offense. I saw (Jason) Kipnis last year, and I thought he was going to be a terrific player. As it turned it, he’s turned into an impact player. You have to love Asdrubal Cabrera. (Michael) Brantley has done a nice job taking over for (Grady) Sizemore. I think they’re waiting for Lonnie Chisenhall, and you’ve got to love Carlos Santana.

“The back end of their bullpen has been terrific. When you look at (Vinnie) Pestano and (Chris) Perez, you see two of the best relievers around. Joe Smith can really tough on right-handers.”

(The Indians’) big question mark is their starting rotation, but overall they’re solid, and Manny Acta is a terrific manager. He knows his players well and I think the experience he had in Washington has really helped him well in Cleveland.”

On the White Sox (34-28 and 1.5 ahead on June 14)

“I anticipated (the AL Central) being a three-team race for a while. I think if you’re looking at all the teams, you’d have to say the (White) Sox have the capability of being there at the end. Whether or not they will be, we’ll have to wait and see.

“I’m interested in how (the White Sox’s) starting pitching holds up. Right now, we have a couple of guys (Chris Sale and Jake Peavy) that are really good, and three guys that have to pick it up.

“They have to start winning at home. I don’t believe you can win your division unless you start dominating at home. (The White Sox) are playing well on the road, but we haven’t been to New York, Boston, Toronto. We have a tough road left which means we have to start winning at home. If we don’t win at home, then the division will go to someone else.”

- Mark Podolski | @mpodo


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