Seeing as I have some extra time at work and taking cues from espn.com and foxsports.com here are some questions we are waiting to see answered in the second half.
1) Will the Rays make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history?
This is a debate bros at arms has been having for several weeks now. The Rays are talented, but young and their pitching still has some long-term questions. Scott Kazmir is the only member of the staff to throw 200 innings in a season. So how will the young arms produce in August and September in the late summer heat? Also, will management have the stones to go spend some dough at the trade deadline? The Rays would be scary good if they could land AJ Burnett or Joe Blanton. Matt Holiday would fit in well with the young environment in Tampa. (As a Sox fan I really hope that doesn't happen.) Right now, the Rays have a 2 1/2 game lead over the Twins 4 1/2 over the A's and 5 1/2 over the Yanks. If these 3 teams fail to make a run in the second half I could see the Rays in the playoffs and no one in the AL wants them in the first round.
2) Who will win the NL Central?
This division is going to turn into a brawl. The Brewers, with the recent addition of CC, and the Cubs with Rich Harden off the DL and a solid rotation clearly have the advantage. The Cards could be spoilers. If Chris Carpenter can give them 10 starts they could be trouble. I see the Cubs winning the division and the Brewers getting the wildcard. All three teams really should make the playoffs and the entire NL West should be religated to AA. That division is full of bums, the whole lot of 'em.
3) Can K-rod break the saves record?
This is one question I am pretty sure the of the answer. Yes. The guy is dominating he already has 38 saves in 41 attempts. Plus this is his contract year and when those baseball players see $$$ they go nuts. (I am looking at you Mike Lowell.) An added factor in this chase for 57 is that the Angels offense is anemic to say the least. So good pitching+bad hitting= lots of close games. Lots of close games= 60 saves for K-rod in 2008.
4) Will the Cubs finally win a World Series?
The Cubs are sick of loosing and are not messing around. With the aquisition of Dan Haren the Cubs made a statement, "This is the year to get it done." They have all the pieces in place and I would be surprised if they didn't get to the world series. (Unless they meet the aforementioned Brewers in the NLCS and CC and Ben Sheets throw 4-5 times in the series. Then who knows?) The question is what will the Cubbies do when they get to the series? With hardly any world series experience on the roster (with the exception of Jim Edmonds) what will they do when the pressure is on? And this is not normal world series pressure this is, God oh God I will jump on the L tracks if the Cubbies don't win it all this year. I know Bud Selig and the rest of baseball are hoping for a Sox/Cubs series and so am I.
Enjoy the second half of the season.