I’ll take close division races for a thousand, Alex, and notes on a Red Sox hot streak.
Thanks to the Rays for the following: Today is the first time since the the current format was created in 1994 that every AL East team has been at least two games above .500 at any point in the season. Meanwhile, all five NL East teams are at least three games above .500.
Now about the Red Sox. They were 12-19 and 7 1/2 games out of first on May 11. Today, they’re 27-25 and three out. They’ve gone 15-6 since May 11, the second-best record in the Majors in that time, behind only the White Sox (15-5). The Red Sox have outscored opponents 110-73 in those 21 games and have 51 doubles and 31 home runs. Red Sox pitchers have a 3.44 ERA and have allowed two runs or less eight times.
The Red Sox lead MLB with 207 extra base hits, including 137 doubles. They have 22 more extra base hits and 30 more doubles than the next-highest team. Those 137 doubles are the third-most for any Red Sox team through 52 games, trailing only the 2003 Blue Jays (143) and 2003 Red Sox (138).
The Red Sox have won 13 of their last 17 with rookie 3B Will Middlebooks in the starting lineup. He has had a hit in 20 of 25 games since making his debut and has nine multi-hit games. He leads AL rookies in average and slugging and is second in OBP, home runs and doubles. He’s the fourth Boston player since 1918 to have six home runs in his first 24 games, joining Sam Horn (9 in 1987), George Scott (10 in 1966) and Bob Tillman (9 in 1962).
Daniel Nava, 29, has started 22 straight games in left since being summoned from Pawtucket. He has reached base in 20 of those games.
The Royals are 19-14 since that 12-game losing streak. They were 15-13 in May, their first winning record in that month since 2000. Their bullpen leads the AL in innings (193) and strikeouts (168). In the last 22 games, the Royals are 13-9 with a 2.18 bullpen ERA in that time.
Mike Moustakas is hitting .322 since August 17, 2011, the seventh-highest mark among American League players with at least 300 plate appearances. He trails Miguel Cabrera (.353), Adrian Beltre (.340), Derek Jeter (.338), Josh Hamilton (.329), David Ortiz and Paul Konerko (.322).
The Tigers are seventh in the AL in runs and 11th in ERA. Their starters have the eight-best ERA in the league and have pitched the 12th-most innings.