This time, it didn’t matter again. When the Mariners’ Robinson Cano hit a solo home run in the top of the 10th to propel the American League to victory in this week’s All-Star Game, it had no effect on who will have home field advantage come World Series time. All it did was cap off an exciting first half plus of the season and usher in a second that promises to be just as enthralling.
Here’s a list of five things each league to watch out for as the next 70 or games unfold.
The American League
- Look for the Houston Astros to clinch the West by early September and battle the Dodgers for the Majors’ best record into the final week.
- Expect the Yankees to pursue bullpen help and a rental at first base to help Aaron Judge carry them into the playoffs.
- Keep an eye on the middle of the Red Sox lineup to see if they can drive in enough baserunners to hold off the likely charge of the Yankees in the East.
- Judge is an absolute lock for AL Rookie of the Year but look for him to approach 50 home runs by season’s end and win AL MVP by a fairly wide margin.
- Lastly, pencil Chris Sale in as the AL Cy Young winner and figure him to push the Red Sox past the Astros into the World Series.
The National League
- The World Champion Cubs are currently 7 ½ games back of the Rockies for the final Wild Card spot. It’s reasonable to think their stars will turn things around a bit but still fall just short of the playoffs.
- Washington looks to be in good shape across the board as they come into the second half of the season. Expect them to maintain their lead in the East and finally break through into the NLCS against a stacked Dodgers team.
- Staying in Washington, look for Bryce Harper to push past Paul Goldschmidt during the final month of the season to secure his second VP award.
- Barring catastrophic injury, the NL Rookie of the Year race is a done deal. Cody Bellinger has pulled almost even with Judge for the best overall rookie and no one’s even close in the National League.
- Look for Clayton Kershaw to duplicate his first half numbers, snatch the Cy Young, and lead the best pitching staff in baseball to a World Championship.