Four MLB Teams To Watch Down the Stretch

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Four MLB Teams To Watch Down the Stretch

Philadelphia Phillies

 

Phillies have had a lot of bad luck with Jimmy Rollins out twice in first half, Chase Utley out till September and just a string of other continual mishaps. Positive note is that Cole Hamels is pitching like 2008 again.....which is good as the Phillies are winning again.

 

Rumor is the Phillies are offering up OF Jayson Werth on the trade market, but no bites as of yet but surely teams have to be interested in Werth, like the Boston Red Sox. Werth carried the team into two back to back World Series in 2008 and 2009.

 

His production has definitely picked up since the All-Star break, but so far in 2010 he has a .286 batting average, with 13 home-runs, 52 RBIs and seven stolen bases.

 

Just to compare, his 2009 season totals were 36 home-runs, 99 RBIs, 91 walks and 20 stolen bases.

 

His average is better because he has hit 32 doubles, which already tops his 2009 total which was 26. Werth is on track to hit around 25—26 home-runs and steal around 14—15.

 

I had a feeling when the Phillies started to play better Werth would step it up, which is what is happening right now.

 

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

 

Is Dan Haren the answer to pitching problems? Switching from NL to AL  is not going to be easy with 7-8 record, a 4.60 era in the weak hitting NL West. Haren does have a 141 strike-outs which before the trade was on top of the NL. Haren is a three time All-Star and has averages 15 wins in his five seasons. Finally, Haren is pitching on a contending ball-club, with a solid reputation that could be just what this durable pitcher needs to get better.

 

1B Kendry Morales is a huge bat to lose, but they have proved they can win without him when their hot, it's when they slump that his missing presence is noticed.

 

Now, the Angels bats have to stay hot when the pitching does it's job more consistently. This team is not the base stealing pests of the past but when the bats get hot, they can win.

 

Definitely sends a message to the AL West leading Texas Rangers, the Angels are going to fight all the way.

 

Boston Red Sox

 

Injuries have run through Fenway Park like a virus, as the DL list is better than the active roster. Slowly, the players are coming back. Once Pedoria and Ellsbury return the team can start to win all the time again.

 

The question remains is there enough time to play catch-up or will the gap in the standings be to wide already?

 

Guess we willl see but GM Theo Epstein has been silent, but I would expect some kind-of move before July 31st trade deadline. That is unless the Red Sox are looking towards 2011, which I would highly doubt.

 

Chicago White Sox

 

As a player, being managed by Ozzie Guillen must be a roller coaster ride because as a fan watching and listening to Guillen is an absolute treat. Guillen never hesitates to credit opponents in defeat and his passion is contagious.

 

As of June 9th, the White Sox were waving bye-bye sitting 9.5 games back, with the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers both in front. Then all of the sudden in total Guillen-style, the team won nine of 10 games and entered the All-Star break .5 game in first-place.

 

To say it was shocking would be an understatement, but with a Manager like Gillen how could you not get emotional. Guillen is the key to this team's energy, but going forward the team's weakness is the bullpen.

 

Guillen says all is fine as it is and he plans to use a committee of closers down the stretch. This idea could work in the AL Central, due to the Detroit Tigers recent bad luck of injuries to Brandon Inge, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen. Also, the Twins M & M boys not at 100 percent, without Mauer and Morneau the Twins October dreams will have to wait.

 

Guillen feels no pity, as the White Sox lost ace Jake Peavy about seven weeks ago and they figured out how to win.

 

Still, the bullpen will get wiped outside the AL Central and overall the White Sox are in this position because of inter-league play and that part of the season is over. The White Sox are only one game ahead of the Twins and two in front of the Tigers making this the tightest three-team division race.

 

Now the White Sox will face all AL teams from here on out. Here is their opportunity, like it or not, to prove this was not just a mid-season surge. I am not totally sold just yet that this could be blamed on quick luck.

 

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