What the hell is going to happen in the second half? A brief preview

These two will be slugging it out in the second half

The first half of the season has been a great one.  Highlighted by Chris Davis’s home run bonanza, no hitters by Homer Bailey and Tim Lincecum, two brawls in Los Angeles, the upstart Pirates claiming the 3rd best record in baseball, Miggy cementing himself as the most dominant hitter since Barry Bonds and other great moments.  The standing may not look very much like I thought they would at the beginning of the season but they are nonetheless interesting.  Here’s where we stand so far in both leagues:

AL standings 7.15NL standings 7.15

A few observations:

  • The Red Sox, the only team I said didn’t have a shot to win the AL east, are in first place in the toughest division in baseball (sorry NL Central).
  • The Pirates have had another great first half.  Can they avoid another second half dumpster fire?
  • Oakland has the best record in baseball over the last 162 games.  Look at the roster.  It’s incredible.
  • My NL World series pick, the Giants, are not making me look good.  I still feel a second half run.
  • The Houston Astros and Miami Marlins haven’t let anybody down by being the worst teams in baseball.

This isn’t really the mid point in the season.  Teams have played over 90 games.  They have less than 70 games to keep their lead or make up ground.  Buster Olney put together a list of the toughest schedules left among the contenders. (Insider)  Hint:  It’s the Royals, Braves have easiest.  I think the Red Sox and the A’s end up with the AL wild cards.  The Rays, Tigers, and Rangers will take the divisions.  In the NL, The Dodgers and Reds will manage to get the wild cards while the Braves, Cardinals, and Diamondbacks will win the divisions.http://diamondhoggers.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=14977&action=edit

Maybe the biggest question looming over the second half is whether Chris Davis can continue his torrid pace and get over the 60 HR mark and prevent Miguel Cabrera from winning his second straight Triple Crown in the process.  I’m pegging Davis to come up short of 60…somewhere around 55-57.  Which, clearly is still ridiculous and will be enough to stay ahead of Cabrera.

What about some of the smaller plots?  Let’s see:

  • Can Max Scherzer hold onto his sizable lead in the AL Cy Young race?  No.  I’m going to go with Yu Darvish.  Hopefully his injury issue is nothing and he’ll be right back.
  • Who will be the big buyer/seller at the trade deadline?  With team’s valuing their prospects more, the big deals are harder to come buy, but I think the Dodgers will make some moves now that they are within striking distance.  The White Sox will definitely be unloading and, despite the public saying to the contrary, the Phillies will figure out that they need to blow that thing up.
  • What will happen with the Biogenesis scandal?  Who will get suspended?  I’ve made it known I don’t agree with the MLB’s investigation tactics, but it looks more and more like they will suspend somewhere between a few and a bunch of players.  This is going to get ugly before it gets better.
  • When will Ryan Ludwick come back and help the anemic Reds offense?  Just kidding…nobody cares about this.

These questions and more will be on the mind of baseball fans for another few months.  We’ll get answers and most of us will have sarcastic things to say about it on Twitter.  Enjoy the second half.

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