MLB Second-Half Surge: Predicting Each League's Playoff Teams

Eric Steitz@esteitz16Analyst IIIJuly 13, 2012

MLB Second-Half Surge: Predicting Each League's Playoff Teams

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    The MLB All-Star break is over. Teams get back to the daily grind of the regular season, but with a revamped sense of urgency.

    With just under half of the season's games remaining for most teams, five out of the six division races have teams within four games of the leader.

    The exception is the American League East where the New York Yankees lead the Baltimore Orioles by seven games.

    That race is still far from over as the other three teams in the division are within 2.5 games of the O's.

    There is still a significant amount of season left. As any baseball fan knows, anything can happen with just under three months left.

    About the only thing we can rule out, the Chicago Cubs will not be winning this year's World Series. There is, however, always next year.

    With the division races wide open and the additional Wild Card spot, teams have more to play for this season. Avoiding that play-in game and saving some innings will be huge for a postseason push, especially if you have a controversial innings limit. Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals?

    With that said, here is how I see the league standings finishing, including wild cards.

American League

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    The American League champion won't have home-field advantage in the World Series after an 8-0 win by the National League in the All-Star game, but the AL currently boasts the two best records in baseball.

    That could make them a favorite come the Fall Classic.

    How the league stacks up currently

    AL East

    New York Yankees 52-33

    Baltimore Orioles 45-40     7.0 GB

    Tampa Bay Rays 45-41     7.5 GB

    Boston Red Sox  43-43     9.5 GB

    Toronto Blue Jays 43-43    9.5 GB

    AL Central

    Chicago White Sox 47-38

    Cleveland Indians 44-41   3.0 GB

    Detroit Tigers 44-42   3.5 GB

    Kansas City Royals 37-47   9.5 GB

    Minnesota Twins  36-49 11.0 GB

    AL West

    Texas Rangers 52-34

    Los Angeles Angels 48-38   4.0 GB

    Oakland A's 43-43              9.0 GB

    Seattle Mariners 36-51       11.0 GB

    Who's in?

    AL East Champion: New York Yankees

    AL Central Champion: Cleveland Indians (They have uniforms and everything.)

    AL West Champion: Los Angeles Angels

    Wild Cards: Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays

    AL Champion: Texas Rangers

National League

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    The dynamic of the National League has changed substantially in the last decade. From the Cubs and Cardinals being the top of the Central to the Nationals being bottom dwellers, this year's National League looks much different.

    An All-Star game win gives the NL home-field advantage for the World Series. We will see if they can take advantage of that.

    Where they stack up now:

    NL East

    Washington Nationals 49-34

    Atlanta Braves 46-39   4.0 GB

    New York Mets 46-40   4.5 GB

    Miami Marlins 41-44 9.0 GB

    Philadelphia Phillies 37-50 14.0 GB

    NL Central

    Pittsburgh Pirates 48-37

    Cincinnati Reds 47-38  1.0 GB

    St. Louis Cardinals 46-40   2.5 GB

    Milwaukee Brewers 40-45   8.0 GB

    Chicago Cubs 33-52   15.0 GB

    Houston Astros 33-53   15.5 GB

    NL West

    Los Angeles Dodgers 47-40

    San Francisco Giants 46-40   .5 GB

    Arizona Diamondbacks 42-43   4.0 GB

    San Diego Padres 34-53   13.0 GB

    Colorado Rockies 33-52   13.0 GB

    Who's in?

    NL East Champion: Washington Nationals

    NL Central Champion: Cincinnati Reds

    NL West Champion: San Francisco Giants

    Wild Cards: St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves

    NL Champion: Cincinnati Reds