MLB eased into the second half of the season Thursday because the Rangers dropped the Astros 5-Zero within the lone sport of the day.
The second half begins a few week sooner than regular this 12 months because the All-Star break was moved up this season, so there’s nonetheless loads of baseball left to be performed.
With plenty of baseball comes plenty of storylines and we put collectively 5 so that you can watch within the second half of the season.
5 storylines to observe within the second half
Will the Indians catch the Twins
It looks like an odd query to ask, particularly contemplating how good the Twins have been within the first half and the way seemingly mediocre Cleveland has been, however the storyline has flipped on its head as of late. The Indians sit 5 half of video games again of Minnesota for the highest spot within the American League Central as of Thursday.
That will appear to be an enormous lead, however contemplating the very fact the Twins led the division by greater than 10 video games at a number of factors this 12 months, that could be a harmful and a gettable quantity for the Indians. And, Cleveland is near getting Corey Kluber again, Mike Clevinger is returning to kind and Trevor Bauer has been extra constant of late. If Jose Ramirez figures it out, which may be all of the Indians have to take this division again.
Who will win the wild-card race within the American League
Not like within the Nationwide League, this race issues. Any of the principle groups preventing over the 2 wild-card spots within the American League (Rays, A’s, Indians, Purple Sox and Rangers) may win the World Sequence. OK, the Rangers are a little bit of a stretch, however with that lineup and Lance Lynn and Mike Minor atop that rotation, they might actually win a playoff sequence.
However in all honesty, whereas the Dodgers have the perfect report in baseball, the argument might be made the following six finest groups are within the American League. The Yankees are superior, the Astros are nice, the Indians nonetheless have an incredible rotation, the A’s are pesky, the Rays horrify everybody and the Purple Sox are the defending champions. The American League’s finest are nice this 12 months, and you may guess the present division leaders are watching the wild-card race intently to see which groups get into the playoffs.
Can any crew preserve the Dodgers from attending to the World Sequence
Whereas the Dodgers’ report might be dissected a bit (they’re 23-20 on the street, Hyun-Jin Ryu is out pitching his peripherals, Clayton Kershaw is not the Cy Younger winner of previous and the bullpen is suspect) they’re the perfect crew within the Nationwide League. There’s little disputing that.
And, other than Los Angeles, the remainder of the Nationwide League is wallowing in mediocrity as solely the Braves have greater than 50 wins (there are six within the AL) and after that the following finest crew is 5 video games over .500 (Nationals, 47-42). There’s not precisely plenty of groups that recommend they might preserve the Dodgers from getting again to the World Sequence for the third 12 months in a row. Possibly the Braves may do it, however they’ve needed to demote one among final 12 months’s All-Stars in Mike Foltynewicz and they’re awfully younger throughout the board.
There are only a few groups who appear to be they’ll beat the Dodgers proper now, and if we had been betting, we’d not put cash on any of them to get previous Los Angeles.
What number of extra dwelling runs will Justin Verlander hand over
Justin Verlander has been implausible for the Astros this season holding opponents to a .168 batting common towards (a profession finest) whereas permitting simply 107 batters to achieve base in 126 2/three innings pitched.
However, the Cy Younger winner has been destroyed by the lengthy ball this 12 months. Of the 76 hits he has allowed this season, 26 have been dwelling runs. That is 4 shy of probably the most he has ever allowed in his profession in a single season. He complained that MLB has been altering the ball to pressure extra offense into the sport this season and the homer is clearly on his thoughts.
Will he modify within the second half and restrict the lengthy ball? We’ll discover out.
Will the Mets promote
The Mets are as soon as once more in an odd place of limbo as they’re seven video games again of the second wild-card spot, nonetheless seemingly have a strong roster that might go on a run and never an excellent farm system. All of that places them in a bizarre “do we sell, or do we not?” place they appear to be in yearly. But when the Mets do determine to promote, and we imply significantly promote, that might have an effect on the playoff races throughout the board.
The primary issue right here is Noah Syndergaard. If the Mets determine to commerce him he’s immediately the perfect pitcher out there available on the market. Sure, he has not been good this 12 months and won’t be the participant he was when he pitched within the World Sequence, however not a single pitcher has his expertise and stuff and together with his two years of management and ripe younger age of 26, he’s a extremely priceless commodity. No matter crew will get him has an prompt jolt to its roster. Once more, in the event that they determine to maneuver him.
This can be a large if. The Mets may very nicely determine to carry onto him they usually may maintain onto Zack Wheeler, as nicely, in the event that they so please. But when New York trades both participant – or much more significantly, they commerce each – the playoff race will likely be impacted, like Verlander to the Astros in 2017 when he helped them of their first World Sequence. So, that is one thing that needs to be watched down the stretch.