Major League Baseball reached the official halfway point of the season on Thursday with almost all teams having played at least 81 games with a few teams having played 82. In today’s blog we are going to take a look at the first half of the season and look ahead to the second helf of the season.
Let’s start in the American League East where we find the Ney York Yankees leading that division with the surprising Baltimore Orioles in second place. The Yankees started off the season very slowly and were below .500 for most of the first two months before turning things around and taking a 4,5 fame lead over the Orioles who started the season red hot and have since cooled off but are still playing much better than they have for many years. Tampa Bay and Toronto are right where most people expected them to be with the Boston Red Sox bringing up the rear. The Red Sox got off to a horrible start and have only started to play better in the past month but there is still a lot of problems with injuries and off the field issues that will most lokely league the Red Sox through the remainder of the season.
The American League Cetral find the Chicago White Sox and rookie manager Robin Rentura in the lead with Clevelan, Detroit, and Kansas City in striking distance. The Minesota Twins are certainly not out of contention but they are getting there. I think most people expected the Detroit Tigers to play much better than they have so far this year and they can still very easily turn it around in the second half but some key players are going to have ti start living up to expecations. The Royals somewhat like the Red sox are victims to a horrendous start that has left them still trying to claw out of the hole they dug for themselves earlier in the season.
The Texas Rangers have the best record in baseball and are leading the American Lague West with the Angels being the only team with any real chance of catching them. All the Rangers have to do is avoid serious injuries to key players and they will be fine.
One of the most pleasant surprises so far this year has been the play of the Washington Nationals who have a 4.5 game lead over the New York Mets in the National League East. The National have a great young pitching staff and an excellent mix of young hungry players and veterans with something to prove. The Nationals organization has done an excellent job of putting together a well constructed team and they have an excellent shot at making it to the playoffs this year in my opinion. Age, and underperforming pitchers seem to have caught up with the Philadelphia Phillies this year as they find themselves in last place for the first time in a long time and things don’t show any sign of improving for them any time soon.
In the National League Central the Pittsburgh Pirates sit atop a division full of teams who have all endured their share of struggles. Both the Reds and Cardinals have led the division in recent weeks but none of them can put together a consistent winning streak. The Reds like the Cardinals are simply trying to put the right combination of players on the field to win consistently. The Cardinals are in desperate need of bullpen help and probably another starting pitcher. The Reds also need bullpen help and have very little depth in their starting pitching or on their bench. The Chicago Cubs can start looking ahead to next year any day now.
The National League West is a two team race between the Dodgers and Giants with the Dodgers playing above expectaions and the Giants perhaps a little below expectations. In my opinion the Dodgers need more than they currently have to win the division because the Giants after getting off to a slow start have turned things around and could overtake the Dodgers at any time.
With the exception of the Texas Rangers there is no exceptional team in Major League Baseball this year, just a bunch of really good teams and a few teams that have a lot of potential. I would expect quite a bit of action later this month as we approach the July 31 trading deadline. The one interesting thing about this year is that every team wants pitching and the need may exceed the availability. Many teams are facing some very tough decision over the next three weeks or so.
We will be back on Monday with another blog, there will be more frequent blogs from no on. They may not be quite as long as they have been but they will be more frequent. We will do our best to get back to the ghree blogs a week we originally set out to do but can definitely guarantee at least two a week for the next couple of months. Please continue to check out Rachel’s excellent blog elsewhere on this site and thank you for continuing to support this blog.
Have a great weekend!