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Major League Baseball: The 2010 First Half Report

National League West

San Diego Padres
The Padres success is one of the top MLB stories of the 2010 season, but because they don’t play on the East Coast, and just about everyone still thinks they will eventually tank, no one seems to care. The Pads are third in the Majors in runs scored with 453 (behind the Yankees at 469). W
atch out if the Pads deal for an extra base hitter in the next several weeks.
Most wins at the All Star break:
Yankees – 56
Tampa Bay – 54
Atlanta – 52
San Diego – 51

Los Angeles Dodgers
A sleeping monster waiting to be unleashed. If Manny Ramirez comes back from the DL on a mission, and if the Dodgers can grab one legitimate starter before the trade deadline, then we’ll know why San Diego tanked.
Colorado Rockies
Will soon change their official team name to the Surging Rockies. A strong finish at the break, but this run scoring machine will have to face relentlessly superior Giants and Padres pitching 14 times in the second half, and that’s a serious adult portion of canned whup-up to overcome.
San Francisco Giants
A team transitioning from the past to the future, and a front office too timid and unimaginative to expedite the process. Despite hitting into 92 double plays (San Diego has 46 GIDPs), having their best hitter (Pablo Sandoval) mired in a first half slump, and losing free agent Mark DeRosa to a season ending injury, the Giants have done remarkably well. Standing between the Giants and the playoffs are the following obstructions: the Padres, the Dodgers, Colorado, and the Giants’ front office. That’s a lot to overcome.
Arizona Diamondbacks
Apparently Arizona has scrapped plans for erecting an AJ Hinch statue outside the entrance to Chase Field; instead, the space will be used for a recycling bin. All the Snakes can really do at this point is put signs up around the neighborhood announcing the upcoming garage sale. Anyone want a so-so hitter, a folding tray, and an old couch?

National League Central  

Cincinnati Reds
One of the other truly great stories of the 2010 MLB season, but with St. Louis only one game behind the Reds this shapes up to be one of the toughest and most exciting Divisional races.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cards have the starting pitching: second in the Majors with a team 3.39 ERA (San Diego is first with a 3.25 ERA), but despite Matt Holliday being on fire and Albert Pujols putting up his usual amazing numbers, the Cardinals are tied with the Giants at 20th in the MLB with 391 runs scored. That has to change soon.
Milwaukee Brewers
The NL Central prides itself on being the weakest Division in baseball. Out of six teams, four are playing under .500; three teams (Chicago, Houston, Pittsburgh) are in the bottom five MLB teams in runs scored; and three teams have among the worst pitching in baseball (Pittsburgh 29th, Milwaukee 27th, and Houston 23rd). Somebody pass me a handi wipe…
Chicago Cubs
Only a mere 9.5 games out of first and 50 losses at the break. A scary as that is, is there anything scarier than the “Nightmare on Elm Street” statue of Harry Carey at the Cubs’ ball park? Thousands of Windy City children must cry themselves to sleep every night worring about that frightening thing coming to life.

Houston Astros
I can only assume ownership paid Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig several million dollars to allow a representative from the Astros to be on the 2010 All Star team.
Pittsburgh Pirates
I’m sorry, I’ve been pretty busy lately– did the Pirates already put out the annual memo announcing they’re ready to trade their top three players for unproven, mid-range prospects?

National League East

Atlanta Braves
The Braves muscled the seemingly awesome Phillies off the top of the mountain, and pimpslapped the surprising Mets four out of the last six meetings. Then Atlanta ownership dramatically capped off the first half by making a daring trade of shortstops with the Toronto Blue Jays. This team is serious about winning.
New York Mets
Like San Francisco, only four games out at the break, except the Mets are in second place. Will Carlos Beltran’s return energize this team or drag it down? 
Philadelphia Phillies
I really don’t care if they swept the Reds in four just before the break. The Phillies were supposed to dominate in 2010, instead, injuries aside, their suck level is breaking international records.
Florida Marlins
The Marlins fooled me in April; I thought they were moving up when they were just tipping over sideways. Thirteen blown saves at the break.
Washington Nationals
Stephen Strasberg jerseys, wristbands, bats, gloves, tee-shirts, and baseball cards will be available at Walmart over the next fifteen years.

 American League West 

Texas Rangers
Third in the Majors in runs scored with 453 (behind the Yankees at 469, and the amazing Red Sox at 481). Despite their ownership transition mess, and needing Baseball’s approval to make any moves, the Rangers snagged ace starter Cliff Lee to balance their potent offensive attack. This team is prepared for the playoffs.
Los Angeles Angels
As noted by ESPN, the Angels are not in first place in the AL West at the All Star break for the first time since 2006. Only 4.5 games behind Texas, but the Halos desperately need to trade for a first baseman, and they need to do that quickly.
Oakland As
Scrappy little scamps that they are, the Athletics’ pitching has come through (#8 in the Majors with a 3.85 team ERA), but their bats put them in the bottom fourth in runs scored. Looks like it’s time to put the “for sale” sign in front of the Coliseum and dump some salary. First up, starter Ben Sheets…  
Seattle Mariners
Seattle is a wonderful city, with great views, incredible food, and some very patient, understanding people.

  American League Central

Chicago White Sox
A 9-1 record leading up to the break helped a lot, but I will be amazed if the Sox can remain at the top of the Central without a picking up a left handed hitter and another starter. On the other hand, Chicago is tied (with St. Louis) for second in the Majors with only six blown saves; Detroit and Tampa Bay have five blown saves.    
Detroit Tigers
Only a half game out of first behind the Sox, and poised to take control of the Central. A 16-25 road record needs to improve in the second half.  
Minnesota Twins
A mere 3.5 games behind the Sox, but can the Twinks recoup and suck it up enough to make a drive? Among their immediate issues: finding a third baseman and a stumbling starting rotation.
Kansas City Royals
The “hitters for sale” sign has been up for over a month in KC. Amazingly, the Royals are #1 in the Majors with a .282 team batting average; but 21st of 30 teams in runs scored (385).
Cleveland Indians
Seattle is a wonderful city, with great views, incredible food, and some very patient, understanding people.

 American League East 

New York Yankees
A team built top to bottom to play the game relentlessly the right way, to score runs in bunches, to defensively dominate, with starting pitching and a bullpen of amazing depth.
Tampa Bay Rays
So far, going toe-to-toe with the Yankees and only 2 games out. Come September, this will be a death-defying grudge match that will make Godzilla and Mothra tearing up Tokyo look like a walk in the park…
Boston Red Sox
At various times during the first half, they have lost their best starter (Josh Beckett), their third best starter (Clay Buchholz), their center fielder (Jacoby Ellsbury), their starting catcher (Victor Martinez), their MVP second baseman (Dustin Pedroia), and one of the mainstays in their bullpen (Manny Delcarmen) to injuries. And still, the Sox are #1 in the Majors in runs scored at 481, only five games out in the East, and first in the AL Wild Card. Wow.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays recently made it known most of their bullpen is available to the highest bidder. The Jays got great potential value in the recent trade with Atlanta that landed star shortstop Yunel Escobar. But being in the AL East, and playing .500 ball, puts them 12 games out of first at the break. It will take incredible creativity for ownership to design a plan that will allow them to compete with the Yankees, Tampa and Boston over the next several years.    
Baltimore Orioles
So many of the pieces are there– hitting, young players with amazing talent, developing pitching, and veterans with a proven track record. But it has simply not come together. Yet.