With most teams (okay the White Sox) at the half way point, let's take a quick look at all 30 teams half way though the season... and their chances in the second half. I'm going to use 92 wins as the playoff benchmark. Right now, the Tigers who are in the Wild Card slot, are on pace to win 95 games.
DONE (All these teams would have to play over .700 baseball to win 95 games):
Tampa Bay Devil Rays - Are they just the Rays now? Anyone? I did learn that they have actual Devil Rays/Sting Rays at the stadium in a big tank last week.
Baltimore Orioles - The most depressing team in sports?
Chicago White Sox - 2007 Winners of the Murphy's Law Award. On the plus side, they'll probably go 45-36 in the second half.
Kansas City Royals - The sad thing is after all these years I still don't see any progress.
Texas Rangers - They stink and things will only get worse once they trade away that bullpen.
New York Yankees - Everyone realizes that the Yankees have to 52-28 just to really even have an outside shot at making the playoffs right? And I don't see where those 52 wins are going to come from. This is an 85 win team when healthy, they score a lot of runs but other than that winning steak in June, I can't see them putting together a run for the playoffs. And anytime a team fights to get to .500 then goes under .500, that's a sign that we're talking about a .500 team anyway.
Toronto Blue Jays - Like the Yankees, they have to go 52-28 just to smell a playoff race. But unlike the Yankees things are coming together a bit for them. The pitching is there, the hitting is coming around... if you're looking for that team to catch fire in the second half, this is where I'd put my money since they play in a bad division and things just may come together.
Oakland A's - Their problem is more that they're in a tougher than expected division and they refuse to score runs. They have gotten great pitching, and have an impressive run differential. But until they acquire a bat, I just don't see it happening. But if they do catch fire and find themselves in the playoffs, watch out. The A's pitching is fantastic.
With a Break Here...
Minnesota Twins - I but them here because they always seem to catch fire in the second half. And while they are chasing two teams in their division, both of those teams are flawed. Of course they're going to have to play really good baseball, but they have a lot of games left with the Tigers and Indians. They have to go 50-28 to really have a chance, but if they use those games wisely (in other words, if they win those games against the Tigers and Indians) maybe, just maybe.
Seattle Mariners - They need to play as well in the second half as they did in the first half, in other words go go 46-35 again. They could do it, but this team doesn't feel right. They need another arm in the rotation and could use a bat on top of it. Right now they're getting it done and should be in the Wild Card race into August and probably beyond. But I'm not that confident in them because the pitching just isn't there at the moment.
Should Be In, But...
Detroit Tigers - This is a good baseball team, but there is something about that them that I don't like. Maybe it's because they don't match up well with the White Sox, and therefore I don't think they're as good as they are. But I think what is more interesting is how many runs they've scored this year. This is the best offense in baseball, but on paper, this doesn't seem like the mostdynamic offense. Just as I have a hard time believing that the White Sox will hit as poorly in the second half as they did in the first, I have a hard time believing that the Tigers will be scoring almost six runs again in the second half of the season. But if they go 46-33, they'll end up with 95 wins and probably in the playoffs.
Cleveland Indians - If the Indians do make the playoffs, they're not going to go that far. The pitching isn't there to get them to the World Series. Sabathia is solid and Carmona has been a pleasant surprise , but Byrd, Lee, and who ever ends up being their #5 starter aren't getting it done. Sure if they go 44-33 the rest of the way, they'll have 95 wins and besittin' pretty. But Borowski is barely getting the job done as their closer, and that really is probably going to come back to haunt them... the question is, will it be in late September or in October?What I'm getting at is don't be shocked if either the Tigers or Indians get caught. It's unlikely that the Twins with catch both teams and the M's or A's win enough games to win the Wild Card, but the Tigers and Indians are flawed teams. At the moment things keep going right for the Tigers, how long with that luck last? Did anyone thinkMaggs would be the best hitter not named A-Rod in the AL this year? And as far as the Tribe, they are a good to great regular season team, but with their lack of pitching, they will struggle against good teams, sort of like the Yankees between 2002-2007.
Put Aside Money for Playoff Tickets:
Boston Red Sox - Unlike last year they have starting pitching and their bullpen is pretty good. Sure they need to fix a few problems in the infield and probably could use another starter. But they're still the favorites in the American League. The question is does Theo trade away a few of their higher ended prospects for a MarkBuehrle (assuming the Sox don't resign him)? Does the present over ride the future? It isn't 2003 or 2004 any more... they won the World Series. Should they go all in still? Or should they play their hand and hope these prospects come in and make them even better over the next few years?
Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim in Orange County - As long as they play .500 baseball, they should be in good shape. Honestly, I'm not sure what they should do. They are a playoff team. Sure they could use a bat... but the Angles do things their way and it's worked for them over the last five years. The key really is to make sure that Vlad doesn't suck as much as he did during the playoffs in 2005 when he made A-Rod look awesome.