Well wasn’t that Midsummer Classic just dandy?! Somebody actually won, so that is a plus. Mariano Rivera got a well deserved standing ovation as he entered the game in the 8th inning (one inning too soon Leland) to Metallic’s numbing ‘Enter Sandman’. Mo promptly put the hitters to sleep in order….however I was long asleep by the 3rd inning of what was otherwise a snoozefest. Luckily somebody recorded their television with a grainy cell phone camera so I was able to re-live the moment on YouTube the next morning over a bowl of Cheerios. It was powerful. For a full recap of the game, the Iowa Caucasus and all things Rick Santorum, check out last week’s Tuesday Teabag.
In this edition of How We Got Here/Where We’re Going (or for the Colin Kaepernick crowd: HWGH/WWG) we’ll examine the MLB standings at the seasons midway point and make short order of weeding out the pretenders. As a bonus, we’ll give you our waaaay too premature World Series prediction for FREE. That’s almost as good as finding out you’ve won $10,000….and only have to wire $1,200 to cover the taxes!! Let’s get to it:
1. Boston 58-39
Despite missing the first month of the season Big Papi leads the team in home runs (19) and runs batted in (65) while sporting a cool .317 average. If Papi can stay healthy in the second half the Red Sox (and my fantasy team) will make the playoffs. Look for the Sox to be extremely aggressive in the trade market; perhaps calling on their old buddy Theo for Matt Garza’s services.
2. Tampa Bay 55-41 (2.5)
Is there a professional sports team that is more under appreciated by their own fan base than the Rays?! The Machine has been to the Trop, it’s a dump no doubt, but still this team finds great young talent and Joe Maddon squeezes every ounce of juice from them (pun intended!). Matt Moore has delivered on his pedigree, posting 13 wins and +100 K’s in the first half of the season. If they can get David Price right, this team can run down and pass the Sox.
3. Baltimore 53-43 (4.5)
Chris Davis put up a first half worth of stats that 90% of big leaguers would be happy to have over the course of a full season: 70 Rs, 37 HRs, 93 RBIs, .315 Avg. That’s PED-esque! Except The Machine is pretty sure he is clean, making it that much more impressive. Here’s hoping he keeps the power surge up, if for nothing else than the debate on what the real home run total should be. 61? 73?
4. New York 51-44 (6.0)
If the season ended today you’d have to give Joe Girardi some serious love for AL manager of the year. The Yankees have had more money tied up on their DL than most teams entire payrolls! Not only have they held the ship together, they are 7 games above .500 with significant playing time from retreads like Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, Travis Hafner, Jayson Nix, etc.
Sadly, I don’t think they are going to get much of a boost from the geriatric bunch set to return from the DL (Jeter, ARod, Granderson). I think this team treads water much of the summer before flaming out in September.
5. Toronto 45-49 (11.5)
Off Season Champs! Sadly, in any other division this team could probably make a run.
1. Detroit 52-42
No shock here: the Tigers are second in the league (and MLB for that matter) in runs scored. Max Scherzer has (finally!) been able to harness his control and is piling up strikeouts. If Verlander can revert back to his career norms (velocity needs to pick up a few ticks) this team can go a long way in the postseason. They still don’t have anyone that can properly close a game for them; this has to get addressed by the deadline.
2. Cleveland 51-44 (1.5)
Love the direction Terry Francona has this team heading. They are going to be nipping at the Tigers heels all summer long. I think they’ll get bold at the deadline and swing a few deals. Oh they’ll make the postseason as a wild card, and get Cleveland’s fans hopes up just enough to open that old wound for some fresh salt. It never gets old.
3. Kansas City 43-49 (8.0)
Death, taxes and the Royals sucking?
4. Minnesota 39-53 (12)
Well, when Kevin Correia is the ace of your staff, being 12 back doesn’t seem all that bad! Perspective.
5. Chicago 37-55 (14)
Let the fire sale begin!
1. Oakland 56-39
Billy fucking Beane y’all!
2. Texas 54-41 (2)
This division is a two-horse race that is going to be one of the better ones to watch. Adrain Beltre should start getting some MVP consideration if he continues to hit (and field) like he has. Josh Hamilton who? Hey guys, you can celebrate your playoff series wins like big boys now and pour Champaign….correction, Budweiser’s (it is Texas after all)…all over the place!
3. Los Angeles 44-49 (11)
So far this season, the Angels have paid Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton a combined $17 million dollars for a whooping 29 homers and .227 average. Yikes. If only somebody warned you that giving a meth-head $125 million (guaranteed) was a bad idea. Don’t worry, maybe Mike Trout can have another once-in-a-century type of season and get this team back into contention.
4. Seattle 43-52 (13)
King Felix is going to play for a perennial loser his entire career.
5. Houston 33-61 (22.5)
Welcome to the American League!
1. Atlanta 54-41
It’s actually scary to think how good this team could be if they could get ANY kind of production from Jason Heyward (.227, 7 HRs, 21 RBIs, 49Ks) or BJ Upton (.177, 8 HRs, 20 RBIs, 102Ks). Pathetic. Julio Teheran is going to make a serious push for NL Rookie of the Year.
2. Washington 48-47 (6)
Baseball karma for sitting Strasburg last postseason?! This team is exciting to watch, but I don’t think they’re going to be able to catch the Braves.
3. Philadelphia 48-48 (6.5)
This was the easiest division in baseball to predict at the beginning of the year. These teams will finish in their current order in the standings. With the expanded wild card in play, the Phillies are only 5.5 back. It kind of feels like 15.5 with this team though. They should consider themselves sellers early in the process and try to get younger.
4. New York 41-50 (11)
You play in a wildly successful, UNCAPPED professional sport in the BIGGEST market in the world. You should be punching your playoff ticket year in and year out. This franchise is a travesty.
5. Miami 35-58 (18)
Forget George Zimmerman, Jeffrey Loria is the Floridian that should be thrown in jail!
1. St. Louis 57-36
Another organization that does it right. From the ownership, to the management, to the scouts, to the players and the fans.
2. Pittsburgh 56-37 (1)
Death, taxes and the Pittsburgh…waaaait a minute! Not only are the Pirates going to end a 20 year winning-season drought, they are going to represent the NL in the World Series!
3. Cincinnati 53-42 (5)
There are a handful of guys I’d pay to see play. Joey Votto is one of those guys. However, I don’t trust this pitching staff enough to keep them in the hunt the rest of the way.
4. Chicago 42-51 (15)
How many years does this make it now? 102? 402?
5. Milwaukee 38-56 (19.5)
The Brewers are 18 games under .500. Ryan BioBraun has missed roughly half of the team’s games with various ailments. Which begs the question, how terrible is this team going to be when he misses the entire 2014 season?
1. Arizona 50-45
Unless you’re a diehard Diamondbacks fan, or a fantasy baseball dork, Paul Goldschmidt (.313, 21 HRs, 77 RBIs, 9 SBs) is probably the best player you’ve never heard of.
This team has taken on the persona of their manager, Kurt Gibson, and is playing smart, fundamental baseball. If you think their starting five (Corbin, Miley, Kennedy, Cahill, McCarthy) is a bit hard to trust, wait until you make your way to the bullpen (Putz, Bell, Hernandez).
2. Los Angeles 47-47 (2.5)
The Dodgers and their Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig seem to be biggest media draw the first half of the season. After stumbling out of the gate the Dodgers have come roaring back, winning 17 out of their last 22 games, cutting the D’backs lead to just two. You can never count a team with Kershaw out (best pitcher in baseball), but something just isn’t right with Matt Kemp. It will be interesting to see how far Puig can carry this team.
3. Colorado 46-50 (4.5)
4. San Francisco 43-51 (6.5)
World Series hangover in full effect.
5. San Diego 42-54 (8.5)
Your weather forecast is 76 degrees, sunny with an ocean breeze….for the rest of the year. Nobody feels bad for you SD.
World Series Pick: Texas over Pittsburgh