Monday, July 14, 2014

Major League Baseball - All Star Break

Here it is mid-July and the Major League Baseball season halts for a few days for the annual All Star break, being held this year in Minneapolis.
There have been some surprises to date and also some disappointments in the 2014 season as the teams look to either keep things going or get them going in the right direction the rest of the way.
In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are neck and neck in the West division and it should go down to the wire between these two teams. The NL East has two other teams in the same position as the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves are battling each other for division supremacy.
The NL Central is a completely different animal once again this season as the surprising Milwaukee Brewers (who have slumped big time of late) still hold a one-game lead in the division over the St. Louis Cardinals with the surging Cincinnati Reds just 1 1/2 games back. The Pittsburgh Pirates, another team on the rise after a slow start in 2014, is just 3 1/2 games off the lead.
Four teams in the same division separated by just 3 1/2 games should make for a great second half to the season.
In the American League, things are a bit different as the Detroit Tigers woke up from their terrible slump about a month ago and now enjoy a comfortable 6 1/2 game lead over the Kansas City Royals and 7 1/2 games on the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central.
The American League East has the Baltimore Orioles with a four-game lead on the Toronto Blue Jays and five games ahead of the New York Yankees. The disappointing Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays are both in a tie for the basement, trailing the O's by 9 1/2 games.
The Oakland A's (the team with the best record in baseball) lead the somewhat surprising Los Angeles Angels (second best record in MLB) by just a game and a half to this point in the AL West.
So just what does all the number crunching mean?
Not a whole lot because every season is different and this year figures to be just as unique as last season when the Red Sox came from nowhere (last place team in 2012) to win the World Series.
So far, the Heftyinfo picks from spring training are in the ballpark (pardon the pun) a little more than halfway through the season, but that doesn't mean that will stick. Here's hoping it does but we will see once October rolls around.
The original pick here was the St. Louis Cardinals topping the Detroit Tigers in the World Series (look it up in the March archives if you want to) and yours truly is sticking with that pick.
The Oakland A's and possibly the LA Angels or Baltimore Orioles can put a stop to the Tiger team making it back to the Fall Classic for the second time in the last three years. Oakland is actually a strong possibility to reach the World Series this season.
The Cardinals are locked in a tough division race the rest of the way and should still win out in the well balanced National League. The Dodgers are the most formidable foe to knock off the Redbirds once October baseball begins.
So we will wait and see what happens as the "Dog Days" of August near and then the home stretch of September takes over as the teams battle it out.
In the meantime, save me a hot dog and check out all the action following the All Star festivities the next couple of days in Minneapolis.
It should be interesting to see what happens.

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