The All-Star break is upon us, which means half the MLB season is over.
Still, there is a lot of baseball to play and the second half looks to be even more drama-filled than ever.
Division races are no longer an AL East only feature, as each division is still up for grabs. It looks to be a second-half for the books and baseball fans should be elated.
Let’s look how each division at the halfway point, starting with the American League:
The New York Yankees have the best record in baseball for the first time since 2004. The Yankees know that means nothing when you share the division with the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox. The Yankees are not just getting by anymore, they are playing really well just earlier than normal. Tex and Arod are on fire which is plain out lethal.
The young and talented Rays are only two games behind the Yankees. The Rays will visit the Bronx immediately following the All-Star break. It doesn’t get easier with series against the Twins, Tigers and Yankees again, with the O’s and Indians somewhere in between. This will be a telling test for the Rays.
The Red Sox are hurting, literally hanging just five games off New York’s pace. Pedoria, Ellsbury, Martinez, Bucholtz and Beckett to name just five of the 11 active players on the DL, a team’s worst nightmare. No pity party for the Red Sox is needed as this team’s experience will keep them in the running, so don’t think it’s over in Boston ever.
Toronto Blue Jays are falling fast after a nice start, again.
Do I even need to mention the Baltimore Orioles? Camedon Yard is a sad place and the O’s are on pace to post the worst record in franchise history. The O’s are improving ending the half with a sweep, so as usual the O’s will cause a headache in the division, as usual.
This is the hottest division in baseball right now, with a three-team race that could not be tighter or more exciting.
Who would have guessed that Ozzie’s White Sox would be leading this division at the All-Star break by going 9-1 in their last 10 games. This resurgence has brought life back into a seemingly dead ball-club as of June 9th. Losing starting ace Jake Peavy will hurt more as the season goes on, but these guys can hit too. You can be sure that Ozzie and President Obama are smiling ear to ear.
Just a half-game back are the hot Detroit Tigers, who looked to be in first until Sunday. Home to Miguel Cabrera who is easily leading the MVP race in the AL with 22 home-runs, 77 RBIs, .346 batting average and a league leading .423 on-base-percentage. The Tigers need a veteran presence in the bullpen that’s filled with youngsters, as Joel Zumaya is out for the season.
The AL West owning Minnesota Twins are getting a reality check finishing in third place at the half. The Twins are 3.5 games back, so very much still alive. The team’s future is hanging on whether All-Star and MVP Justin Morneau can play after the break, as he suffered a mild concussion last Wednesday. Morneau has missed the last four games and dropped out of the All-Star game to get further testing done. MVP Catcher Joe Mauer also has a banged up right shoulder, but claims it is nothing permanent.
Just days ago, the first-place Texas Rangers stole baseball’s best pitcher Cliff Lee from the drooling Yankees. Who knew that bankruptcy could be so money, but did have to give-up a lot to the Mariners. Lee’s first start was his worst in five years, but doubt that was anything to fret about considering he still completed the game. The bigger issue is it was against the stinky Orioles, who managed to sweep the Rangers over four games. The Rangers have a one-man show with the way Josh Hamilton is hitting. Hamilton might be superman.
The Angels are 4.5 games behind Texas and this is not the Angel-way. Losing the power-bat of Kendry Morales for the season has left the team flat. The Halos have proved they can win without Morales, but can they get back to that place again remains to be seen. The team’s ace Jared Weaver has stated the team is up for the fight. This will definitely be a big battle, as this is the Halos worst finish at the half since 2001.
Oakland A’s are 7.5 back, but this team would need a lot more to go right, which just isn’t going to happen in Anaheim. Their best bet is to start running over other team’s pitching mounds so they can make more t-shirts to sell.
The pre-season rankings of the Seattle Mariners was AL West favorites across the board. The board was wrong and dealing Cliff Lee to the Mariners closed the coffin for this season in Seattle.
- Morneau noses ahead (canada.com)
- 2010 MLB Predictions: The End-All for American League Picks (bleacherreport.com)
- Midseason Ticket Report – American League Eastern Division (bleacherreport.com)
- Knocking it Around: Ranking the AL Lineups from 14 to 1 (bleacherreport.com)
- Baseball Roundup: Bartlett’s Single in the 10th Lifts Rays (nytimes.com)