Pittsburgh pitcher Jeff Locke's 8-2 start this season earned him a trip to the All-Star Game and helped to keep the Pirates in the playoff hunt. (Jaime Henry-White/AP)

Pittsburgh pitcher Jeff Locke’s 8-2 start this season earned him a trip to the All-Star Game and helped to keep the Pirates in the playoff hunt. (Jaime Henry-White/AP)

The opening of the second half of the Major League Baseball season finds the Cleveland Indians very much in contention in the American League’s Central Division. Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis announced this week that the team has a strategy for staying there … sort of.

“We didn’t do anything specific to lose all those games last year, so we’re not gonna try to do anything specific to do it again,” Kipnis said.

So the Indians are all set … except that outfielder Torii Hunter, representing Cleveland’s AL Central competitor, the Detroit Tigers, feels his team is poised to pull away.

“This team has a lot of potential. You know, we have some sparks there for three or four games,” Hunter said. “It’s just unbelievable. But I’m waiting for that two or three weeks we just put up historic numbers.”

More “historic” than Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer’s 13 wins against just one loss this season? More historic than Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera leading the league in both batting average and runs batted in? Good luck with that.

Meanwhile, in the National League Central, the Pittsburgh Pirates, dependably disappointing for many years, find themselves engaged in a battle for first place with the St. Louis Cardinals. Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke says the people of Pittsburgh have noticed:

“It’s certainly nice to feel that buzz in the city. It’s really nice to hear the way people are talking about us and the kind of recognition we get,” Locke said.

There. I did it. A baseball story with no mention of the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Cubs or the Dodgers.