I’m back. The Yankee record during my trip: 7-2, including series wins over Boston and the suburb, teams that they seldome beat. So the predicted win streak, though not really a streak, definitely happened. On the other hand, now that I’m back, I am greeted with the news that Brett Gardner had another setback, and we are looking at the Ibanez/Jones platoon in left for the rest of the year (maybe the Red Sox want to trade Carl Crawford? I don’t want him). So as I start to watch again, expect the Yankee surge to stall. Of course, with their lead now NINE games over second-place Baltimore, even a stall will be enough to win this suddenly-vulnerable division. All the teams are still .500 or better (has that ever happened this late in the year before?) but they are collectively only 28 games over .500 – still the best in baseball but hardly the dominant performance of just a few weeks ago.
While I was away, the story lines didn’t modify TOO much: the Nationals are still in first, the Pirates a game back, the Dodgers a game and a half. But the Braves (7 straight wins), Reds (back in first) and Giants (back in first) are all threatening those stories. The Orioles are still in second, but fading (3-6 on my trip), The Tigers are winning (8-1) but struggling to catch the White Sox (7-2).
My wife is leaving again tomorrow, so I won’t take more time to blog today, but I expect to return to full activity soon. Meanwhile, my mid-season predictions:
The Nationals will make the playoffs, but the Braves will atone for last season’s collapse and take the division. The Reds will overtake the Pirates for the Central, the Giants will hang on in the West, and the Dodgers will somehow propel their ragtag roster into the final playoff spot, losing to the Nats in the wild card game 1-0 in 19 innings.
The Yankees will come back to the field somewhat, but win the division anyway. The Tigers will overtake the White Sox to win the divsion title that everyone ceded to them, despite have the worst defense of a contending team since the 80s Dodgers featuring Maury Wills and Bill Russell up-the-middle. The AL East will be shocked when NEITHER of the wild-card teams come from it, instead of the both that many predicted, as the White Sox and Angels face off for the right to face the Yankees. The Yankees hold a party to root for Chicago, as they KNOW that the suburb of Los Angeles Angels are unbeatable by guys in pinstripes.
I love this game! That does NOT mean that I know what I am talking about!