Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Baseball's Second Half

Now that the All-Star game is over, MLB's real-season starts. By now the playoff caliber teams and non-playoff caliber teams are pretty much set. But the World Series hopefuls still need to seperate themselves from the teams that are over-achieving just a bit. There are many intriguing story-lines taking place for the second half of the season. Division races, milestones, records, wins, and losses are all becoming much more important as the quest for The World Series Championship unfolds.
  • Cy Young Race- There are a ton of great pitching performances taking place this season. In the A.L. it seems to be a two man race between Kansas City's Zach Greinke (10-5 with a 2.12 ERA) and Toronto's Roy Halladay (10-3 with a 2.85 ERA). There are a few dark horses who could come up and create a challenge, such as Boston's Josh Beckett (11-3 with a 3.35 ERA). The N.L. is being dominated by 2008's winner, San Fransisco's Tim Lincecum (10-2 with a 2.33 ERA). He is having another superb season and he may run away with the award for 2009. But a couple of other pitchers could sweep in and make the race interesting. New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana (10-7 with a 3.09 ERA) always finds himself in the mix, and he is having another productive season. Arizona's Dan Haren (9-5 with a 2.01 ERA) seems to be the only bright spot for the Diamondbacks. Los Angeles' Chad Billingsley (9-4 with a 3.38 ERA) has established himself as one of the main reasons the Dodgers are baseball's best team and Florida's Josh Johnson (8-2 with a 2.74 ERA) is doing his best to keep his name relevant. The race in both leagues should remain close and whoever wins the Cy Young Award will certainly have earned it.
  • The Dodger's- Is the best record in baseball for real? Returning from a 50-game suspension for illegal substances, the Dodger's Manny Ramirez is settling into the role he signed up for. Leading this team to a World Series Championship. But are the Dodgers a legit champion? They've got good pitching led by potential Cy Young Award candidate Chad Billingsley. And the guys on the team not named Manny Ramirez are doing their part too. Of course, it helps too when you have Joe Torre calling the shots as manager. He has plenty of postseason experience (6 Pennants and 4 World Series Titles). Only time will tell if the Dodgers are legit or as my dad says, "they'll probably choke like usual."
  • Albert Pujols and The Triple Crown- St. Louis first baseman, Albert Pujols, is putting up ridiculous numbers this year. He could even be on pace to break the steroid enhanced single season home run record set by Barry Bonds (73 HR's in 2001). But more importantly Pujols is looking to win the first triple crown (leading the majors in Batting Average, Home Runs, and RBI's) since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967. As of right now, Pujols has a league leading 32 Home Runs, 87 RBI's, and is hitting .332.
  • A.L. East- Don't let 2007's Tampa Bay Rays team fool you. The A.L. East is still all about the Yankees and the Red Sox. This rivalry will surely heat up as the season progresses and the Yankees try to gain the 3 game deficit they are in as of July 15. According to the teams will face each other for a four game series and a three game series in August and a three game series at the end of September. Who knows? Maybe another October classic to entertain us is in store for the playoffs too.
  • Roy Halladay- Toronto has announced they will listen to trade offers for the super star pitcher. The 2009 All-Star starting pitcher is the face of the franchise, but he is all this team has. They should trade him. They won't catch the top of the A.L. East with just one pitcher. They should get some good hitters, prospects, and a draft pick or two. There is a team out there desperate enough to give what Toronto wants.

There are many more sub-plots to the second half of the baseball season. These are just a few intriguing stories that are worthy paying attention too. Enjoy the second half!

*All stats came from*

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