Well, after the disasterous sweep at home to the Royals, we won 5 of 9 on the road and really let one or two more get away, so you have to say we played well. Not a good start by Looper today, but the offense carried the day. Anyway, most teams have at least played 81 games by this point, so it's the half-way point and we have a pretty good idea who are contenders and who are pretenders. After interleague play, most of the National league seems to be in the latter category. Anyway, here's my thoughts on the state of MLB right now:
Teams that people thought would be good and really are: Boston, Chicago Cubs, Anaheim Angels. I think Boston is the best team again this year. They've actually had a bunch of injuries, and they are still on top of their division along with the surprising Rays. At this point, however, I like the Angels and Cubs to win the pennant. The Angels have tremendous pitching, and that usually prevails in the playoffs.
Surprisingly good but for real teams: Rays, Cardinals. I like these two teams to win the wild cards. The Rays have so many good young players, its scary. The Cardinals have played great despite also having a great many injuries and they should just get better as they get healthy.
Good, but not for real: Chicago White Sox, Twins, Orioles, A's, Marlins. All of these teams have played above their heads so far in my opinion. They all lack the pitching to keep it up. The A's and Orioles actually probably want to fall behind, so they can sell off the few remaining veterans they have and continue their rebuilding. The White Sox stand the best chance of sticking, but I like someone else to win that division eventually.
Should make a run at it........Yankees, Tigers, Mets, Brewers. All these teams have shown signs of life recently, especially the Brew Crew and the Tigers. All of them are too talented not be in the Playoff hunt come September, but in the end I only like the Tigers to make it. Their line-up is too good to not start scoring a ton of runs, and their bullpen is finally geting healthy, which should be enough.
Teams that should be good, aren't, and will not make a run: Mariners, Braves, Padres. These teams were all hip picks to win their divisions preseason, but injuries, poor play, and questionable decisions by the higher-ups have combined to make a perfect storm of sorrow. Only the Braves are even within striking distance of the playoffs, but Smoltz, Glavine and Hampton are all out, so I don't like their chances.
NL Playoff picks: Phils, D-Backs, Cubs, Cards AL Playoffs: BoSox, Tigers, Rays, Angels
World Series: Angels over Cubs
I know what you're thinking: how can I pick the Cubs to win the pennant? Remember: what I'm picking is the most painful thing of all for Cubs fans: to come close to glory, only lose. Now that's delicious.