Second half of MLB season is underway

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Updated: July 23, 2015
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Let’s review the first half of baseball:

We saw a new Home Run Derby format that captured the hearts of baseball fans, electrified the crowd, and created one of the most exciting All-Star events in recent years. We’ve seen the improbable, where teams such as the Houston Astros, New York Mets and Minnesota Twins have exceeded expectations with flying colors. But, most importantly, we’ve seen a number of top prospects get called up, in what seems like the most exciting and anticipated year for call-ups in recent memory.

So, what are we looking for from the second half? Well, it’s going to be hard to really shock anyone, considering anything can really happen in the final two months of the season. We all remember the Milwaukee Brewers‘ epic collapse last season, going 9-22 to miss the playoffs yet again. But, if we’ve learned one thing from that experience, it was definitely the fact that no lead in the MLB is ever safe. 

  • Keep an eye on the New York Yankees. The Yankees have one of the worst starting rotations, statistically, in baseball. Honestly, there are way too many question marks between their top-two starters. Michael Pineda is currently sporting a 3.77 ERA, which should arguably be much worse. He’s been inconsistent ever since the 16-strikeout performance he recorded back on May 10, going 4-6 since that time. Then we’ve got Masahiro Tanaka, who might possibly be the most frustrating pitcher in baseball. He hasn’t recorded more than seven strikeouts in a game since June 3, he’s got one of the most questionable lingering injuries in recent memory, and he’s only managed to last seven or more innings six times this season. With pitchers like Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Cole Hamels being shopped “aggressively” by their respective teams, it seems obvious that the Yankees will make a play on one of the top-billed pitchers in the coming week.
  • Did I say you should keep an eye on the Yankees? Keep an eye on the AL East altogether. Somehow, the Yankees have managed to climb to first atop the rankings. But, I have a feeling they won’t be able to keep it up. The Toronto Blue Jays are only five and a half games behind from being first place in the division, while the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays are just six games back. Any of them could overtake the Yankees at any given time. In fact, 11 games separate first and last place. If the Boston Red Sox manage to land an ace at the trade deadline, they could be in serious contention for first place. These teams really need to clinch their division, considering teams like the Twins and Astros are trending upward. They’ve even called up top prospects Miguel Sano and Carlos Correa to provide extra fire power in the lineup and solidify their run at the playoffs, which couldn’t have come at a better time. Don’t be surprised if either of these teams overtakes first place in their division.
  • The NL wild card race might be one of the most intense and exciting in the last decade. Right now, the Pittsburgh Pirates are leading the Chicago Cubs by three games, the San Francisco Giants by three and a half games and the Mets by five and a half. In fact, the only two teams that currently have no shot at making the playoffs might be the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies. With a little over 70 games left on the season, no lead is safe. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire NL Conference sported new division leaders by the end of the season. The only team that might be safe is the Washington Nationals, and that’s because they play in what might be considered the worst division in baseball. If I had to pick two teams to finish as “favorites” to win the wild card, I’d have to choose the Giants and Cubs. The Cubs seem to be figuring it out offensively, Jorge Soler is finally healthy again, and their starting rotation is as deep as they come. If there’s one thing I’ve come to expect from the Cubs, it’s an electrifying game that’ll come down to the final inning. In fact, 12 of their last 15 games have been decided by three runs or less. Either way, we’re excited to see what the future holds. Bring on the second half!

 

Alex Cole

Alex Cole

Alex is a 23-year-old MLB writer from Phoenix, Arizona. He's a fan of the Phoenix Suns in the NBA and the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL. You can contact Alex via email at ACole331133@yahoo.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @AlexColeMLBMiLB.

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