Here is a fun fact: today marked the third straight year that the Cleveland Indians sat alone in first place on June 23rd or later. They wrestled away the Tigers’ strangle-hold on first place in the only way an American League Central team could: by being idle, and watching their rivals lose. Yes, the AL Central is wide-open, thanks to the perpetually underachieving Tigers. And no, there are not any Indians fans who are feeling 100% confident that the Indians will win the division. After all, this is a team similar to the one that went 5-24 last August, falling from first place on June 23rd, all the way to 20 games back when the season ended. The broken record spins still, as Indians’ fans wait for their team to gently remove the needle, or just explode the record player altogether.

Is it possible? Could this be the year that the Indians get it right, and take the division by the horns? Perhaps a better question, is how long can Detroit possibly underachieve like this?

Detroit is four wins shy of their Pythagorean projections — the largest negative disparity in the league — while the Indians are dead-even with their own projection. In fact, according to Baseball’s Prospectus’ adjusted standings, the Tigers should have the best record in the American League. Of course, they don’t, and the Indians are in first place.

The assumption that the Tigers will get better in the second half of the season, passes the numbers test, as we’ve seen. It also passes the history test — they’ve come from behind to handily win the division the past two years. Thirdly, it passes the most important test of all, the one that drunk bloggers employ when power-ranking MLB teams: the eye-test. What is the eye-test you ask? It is how a team looks on paper, or how often you shit yourself while you are watching your own team play against them. The Tigers happen to rank first in Opposing Fans’ Shits Recorded (OFSR).

When every ninth hitter is Miguel Cabrera, followed by a dude who hits the ball farther than Miguel Cabrera, opposing fans are liable to get a little shitty. When the team’s second-best pitcher has accomplished something that hasn’t been done in 27 years, shit is going to happen. When Justin Verlander has performed this season has the team’s FOURTH best pitcher — he is fourth in both team ERA and WHIP, and I am being serious — your dreams are destined to end up in the toilet.

A nice way to sum up my feelings, is to say I am confident the Tigers will once again come around and win the AL Central. I do think the Indians have a great chance to make the American League Wild Card, One-Game-Showdown, (Bullshit) Bonanza, but they also have a lot of teams they are competing with. Literally any team in the AL East might be right there with them. The Rangers and A’s have kept steady pace with one another, and the other competitors who are vying for a chance to play in Major League Baseball’s answer to the First Four. The Indians have a lot of things to figure out before I will feel confident about their chances to move past six of those teams.

Namely, it is their pitching that scares the hell out of me. While the Indians have scored the fifth most runs in baseball, they have given up the sixth most runs. They have just 36 quality starts in 82 chances, ranking them 26th overall. Their “ace” — who I love, don’t get me wrong — Justin Masterson, is liable to pitch four perfect innings prior to inexplicably giving up six runs in 1/3 of an inning, including a three-run homer to a guy who hits a home run once every 150 at-bats. Their most reliable starter, Corey Kluber, would likely be in another team’s farm system. The Indians’ bullpen ranks 21st in ERA, and is debatably in decline with the comeback of Chris Perez.

Perhaps, I’m being too pessimistic. Maybe the Indians will keep on rolling through July, into the dog days of August, and down the stretch in September. Maybe the Tigers will continue to struggle with their team’s identity outside of their all-stars. Maybe the Indians will win the AL Central when it is all said and done.

Can you imagine that shit?