I know that I should be gearing up for the home run derby, but I promised my neighbor that I would whitewash his outhouse. I must admit, I do make a point of watching Giancarlo Stanton bat when the Marlins are on the tube but that is in an actual game. Plus hearing Chris Berman go apoplectic got old years ago.
With about 72 games to go for most major league teams, the magic seems to be missing in 2017. The two Central Divisions have close races going on but the Clevelands and the Cubs aren’t new faces this time. Will the Pirates get hot when Starling Marte returns? Not if they keep pitching the way they have been. It is good to see Andrew McCutchen doing well again, and Felipe Rivero is really good but they can’t seem to get the charcoal going. Kansas City seemed to be resurrecting things but the Dodgers just shut their mouths. Minnesota and Milwaukee remain interesting as they linger around .500 but mostly that’s because everyone else is, too. I would bet that Joe Maddon and Terry Francona will guide their crews to the top before too long. They do, after all, have the talent, although Chicago’s starting pitchers have not been scary like last year.
Houston and Los Angeles just win, win, win. The Dodgers are more surprising to me because I never saw Chris Taylor or Cody Bellinger coming. Seattle looked like competition going in but let’s all play for individual stats, it’s over. As for the Rockies and Diamondbacks, well done but, really, done. If Bellinger fades like Joc Pederson did a couple of years ago, Adrian Gonzalez will still be there or they could rent someone. Alex Wood may be a mirage but, again, rent. The Mariners are so disappointing that they are even behind the Whittier Angels.
As for the East, both of those divisions will continue to lead the majors in publicity and ESPN appearances. Everyone says that Washington should worry about their bullpen but I think it may be more practical to work on taking 9-0 leads. And the Bostons have a slim lead but it feels like separation is occurring. As the heat of summer relinquishes its hold on power numbers, the Red Sox offense may make more and more sense. Tampa Bay keeps improving and will be dangerous and it is doubtful that the Yankees will completely collapse, so there remains hope that a real race will continue. Miami, Atlanta, and the Mets could each make noise, but the Nationals , thanks to the rejuvenation of Ryan Zimmerman, have depth.
Right now, though, it’s a good time for a break. And the All Star Game is meaningless, as it should be. Ahhh.