Before the 2012 Major League Baseball season, I took a stab at some playoff predictions, and at the break, I’m hovering around the Mendoza line (insert sad trombone here). There’s a few surprise teams that have literally come out of nowhere to lead their respective divisions, really throwing my picks for a loop. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Honestly, did anyone expect the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Chicago White Sox, or the Washington Nationals to be division leaders at the All Star break? And that’s not a clown question bro?
With half the season gone I thought this would be a perfect time to revisit my predictions and make any necessary adjustments.
EAST - I’m still sticking with the New York Yankees to win the East. The team is stacked top to bottom, and even losing Hall Of Fame to be closer Mariano Rivera couldn’t stop them from having the best record in baseball at the midway point.
CENTRAL - Even though my original pick, the Detroit Tigers, have struggled through the first half, they are still my pick in the AL Central. Their ownership has shown they are willing to go get what they need for a 2nd half push, very similar to the season they had last year. Hovering around .500 in the first half, then turning it on in the 2nd.
WILDCARD - Here’s a change from my initial post. I had the Tampa Bay Rays as one of the Wildcards, but now I see the White Sox continuing their good play to take one of the playoff spots. They have as good a one two punch in the rotation as anyone, with All Stars Chris Sale and Jake Peavy. The battle for the AL Central should be a fun one to watch down the stretch.
WEST - I’m standing pat on my predictions out West. Even though the Texas Rangers are currently in the drivers seat, I think the Los Angeles Angels will over take them for the division. Rookie Mike Trout is the real deal, Albert Pujols will keep heating up in the 2nd half, and Mark Trumbo will continue his power numbers.
WILDCARD - Which leaves the final playoff spot for the Rangers. I wouldn’t be surprised if either of these teams won the West, but both will be playoff bound.
EAST - I never expected the Philadelphia Phillies to fall so hard, but there they are, sitting in last place with the surprise Nationals leading the division. I truly believe that the Nationals have just enough to hold on to their first place position. They’re only 4 games up, but with reliever Drew Storen soon to return from injury to join baseball’s best pitching staff, they should keep up the pace.
WILDCARD - Early on I predicted the Atlanta Braves to come out of the East with one of the wildcards, but now I think that the New York Mets will pass them up for the spot. I believe they’ll aggressively go after some help at the trade deadline to aid All Stars David Wright and R.A. Dickey.
CENTRAL - I’m sticking with my pick of the Cincinnati Reds. As much as the Pirates story is good for baseball, I don’t see them lasting, nor do I see them being buyers at the deadline for a late playoff push.
WEST - I’m changing up my prediction in the NL West. It should be a happy time in L.A. as I see the Dodgers joining the Angels in the MLB playoffs. The Dodgers are rumored to be in the mix for every trade partner looking to move talent. They’ll bolster their roster via trade very soon.
WILDCARD - For the other NL wildcard spot, I’m staying with my San Francisco Giants prediction. Tim Lincecum can’t go 3-10 with a 6.42 ERA in the 2nd half, can he?
At least half of my original Tigers vs. Phillies World Series is still viable, so I could hold onto the Tigers as the AL champs, but… I think the Yankees are too strong a team and will come away with the AL pennant. And over in the NL I think the Dodgers should pull it out for a East coast vs. West coast World Series, with the Yankees claiming another title.