MLB Standings and Races at the Break, and my 2nd half Predictions
1. White Sox (57-29, Central)
2. Angels (52-36, West)
3. Red Sox (49-38, East)
4. Twins (48-38, Wild Card)
There are close races in the East Division and in the Wild Card.
In the East, Baltimore is 47-40 and 2 games out of 1st place. The Yankees are still around, and at 46-40 are 2.5 games back. And the Blue Jays are hanging around, albeit with a .500 record at 44-44. They are 5.5 games out of first.
Minnesota leads the Wild Card, but there are several teams that are close. The Orioles are a game and a half back, while the Yankees, Rangers (46-40), and Indians (47-41) are just 2 games back. Oakland (44-43) is hanging around at 4.5 games back, and Toronto is 5 games back.
1. Cardinals (56-32, Central)
2. Nationals (52-36, East)
3. Padres (48-41, West)
4. Braves (50-39, Wild Card)
There are close races in the East and in the Wild Card. The West should also be close, but the Padres are the only team over .500. Everyone else in that division is 4 games below .500 or worse.
In the East, the Nationals cling to a 2.5 game lead over the Braves. Both teams have been playing well lately. The Marlins (44-42) , Phillies(45-44), and Mets(44-44) aren't really in the race, but none are out of it. They are 7, 7.5, and 8 games back, respectively.
Atlanta leads the Wild Card by 4.5 games. The Marlins are 2nd. The Astros(44-43) have come from way under .500 to be only 5 games back, and figure to pose a threat as they were the Wild Card last year. The Phillies are also 5 games back, and the Mets are 5.5 games behind. Everyone else is below .500.
And now, my mid-season predictions:
In the American League, the White Sox, with their all-around strong team should continue running away with the division. The Angels will get more offense out of their team in the 2nd half with a healthy Vladimir Guerrero and withstand a challenge from the hard charging Athletics. The Red Sox will win the East because their offense will continue to pound the ball while their relief pitching figures to get better with some trades and Curt Schilling closing, but the Yankees will make it close while the Orioles fade. Oakland will win the Wild Card in a squeaker over the Yankees, Twins, and Indians.
AL MVP-David Ortiz, Boston
AL Cy Young-
If the playoffs started today, the playoffs would look like this:
Roy Halladay, Toronto Mark Buehrle, Chicago
AL ROY-Joe Blanton, Oakland
AL Manager of the Year: Ozzie Guillen, Chicago
In the National League, St. Louis will easily win the Central. The Braves will win the East over the Nationals, but it won't be easy. The Nationals will be respectable in the 2nd half but won't be more than 10 games above .500 the rest of the way as their bullpen fades, and the Braves will get contributions from their current injured players and their rookies, and will ride solid all-around play (pitching and offense) to win with a 2nd half run. With no real challenge looming, the Padres will win the West. The Astros will win the Wild Card in another squeaker with outstanding starting pitching and just enough offense to edge the Nationals and the Marlins.
NL MVP-Albert Pujols, St. Louis
NL Cy Young-Roy Oswalt, Houston
NL ROY-Kelly Johnson, Atlanta (if he doesn't qualify, then Willy Taveras of Houston)
NL Manager of the Year: Frank Robinson, Washington