The 7 Things We’ve Learned During The First Half Of The Major League Baseball Season
Tonight is the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which can only mean one thing: The MLB season is about halfway over. So far, there have been a few surprises (the Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds come to mind), a few disappointments (the Seattle Mariners and Florida Marlins) and a few scenarios we’ve come to expect (the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays fighting for first!).
But before we put the All-Star Game behind us and move into the home stretch, let’s take a second to look back at the seven things we learned during the first half of the MLB season:
The Armando Galarraga perfect-game-that-wasn’t is still the biggest story of the season. If you’ve been hiding under a rock since the beginning of the season, the Detroit Tigers pitcher got 26 straight hitters out against the Cleveland Indians on June 3 before umpire Jim Joyce called the 27th batter out on a play at first base—despite the fact that he was clearly safe at first. Because MLB has refused to adopt instant replay to review anything but home runs, there was nothing the Tigers could do and Galarraga lost his bid to throw a perfect game.
There have been four no-hitters, including two perfect games, in the 2010 MLB season. Several pitchers have ERAs hovering well below 2.00. Home runs are coming at a premium for most teams. And Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg has been the most exciting MLB prospect to enter the league in years. We’d all be fools to believe that steroids have 100 percent disappeared from the sport of baseball. But they’re clearly not having the effect they once had.
Sad face for anyone who doesn’t worship at the feet of Derek Jeter. But the Yankees look tough again and it’s going to be hard for anyone to knock them off their pedestal. With three pitchers with 11 or more wins and a lineup that’s even better than last year’s, the Yanks should cruise their way to an American League East crown, win the pendant and knock off whoever the National League offers up. And they should do it rather easily.
For the last month or so, it’s looked like the New York Mets or the Philadelphia Phillies were finally going to catch the first-place Braves and send them reeling back towards the bottom of the National League East. But every time either of them has gotten within striking distance, Atlanta has put together a winning streak to help them maintain a comfortable lead in the division. It’s time to give them some credit and call them a serious contender. In legendary manager Bobby Cox‘s final season, the Braves aren’t playing any games. They’re here to take home a title.
As we mentioned earlier, there have been some nice surprises this season. The Rangers weren’t picked to win the A.L. West by most MLB analysts. Yet, they lead the division by 4.5 games right now and just picked up phenomenal left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee. But small-market teams like the Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Baltimore Orioles continue to sit at the bottom of their respective divisions. Things don’t look like they’re getting any better in any of those cities.
Even if the Cincinnati Reds fall apart down the stretch (the St. Louis Cardinals will be tough to hold off), Baker’s gotten a lot out of a group of guys that was predicted to finish somewhere between third and fifth in the N.L. Central this season. Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs—the team that fired Baker back in 2007—has looked terrible and is probably going to suffer through yet another disappointing season.
Just about every division is a close race halfway through the season. That typically doesn’t happen. The Rangers 4.5 game lead over the L.A. Angels in the A.L. West is actually the largest lead in all of baseball. Others teams like the Yankees (2.0), Chicago White Sox (0.5), Braves (4.0), Reds (1.0) and San Diego Padres (2.0) hold the slimmest of margins in their divisions. That should lead to some tight battles towards the end of the year and a fulfilling MLB season for baseball fans.
What do you think will happen during the second half of the year? Leave us a comment and let us know.