I always believed the first half of the baseball season is the appetizer and the second half of the season is the main course.
Appetizers are great, but people go out to dinner for the main course. The second half is where the big trades happen and all the playoff races are decided.
It’s the meat and potatoes of the season, if you would.
The second half of the baseball season got started with a bang last night (at least if you are a Toronto Blue Jays fan). So let’s take a look at five questions that the second half of the baseball season will answer.
1. Can the Pittsburgh Pirates do it?
The Pirates finished the first half of the season with a 47-43 record and were the feel-good story of baseball. If they continue their solid play in the second half, they could capture the hearts of America like the Tampa Bay Rays did back in 2009.
I do think they need to make a trade at the deadline to improve their team just to show their fans, and more importantly, their players, that they are serious about winning.
2. Who will get traded?
The trade deadline is 16 days away and we have already seen the first big name traded, as Francisco Rodriguez was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. Unless the Tampa Bay Rays put B.J. Upton or the St. Louis Cardinals put Colby Rasmus on the block, this crop of potential trade candidates is pretty weak.
3. Can Adrian Gonzalez win the triple crown?
With advanced statistics gaining popularity each year and going mainstream, I don’t believe the Triple Crown is as prestigious today as it was 20 years ago.
However, if a guy does lead a league in average, HRs and RBI, it’s still a pretty amazing feat.
Gonzalez leads the AL in avg (.354) and RBI (77) and is 14 HRs behind Jose Bautista. He will be hard-pressed to catch Bautista, but the Triple Crown is in reach.
4. Will the San Francisco Giants do it again?
The Giants, despite having a mediocre documentary (the first episode of The Franchise was nothing special) and an offense that couldn’t score five runs in a softball game, continue to just win.
They lead the NL West by 3.5 games and look poised to defend their World Series crown.
The Giants are the one team that would scare the bejesus out of any other team in the playoffs. They can beat you 2-1 on any given day and then the other team says to themselves, “How did we lose to this team?”
5. Can the Minnesota Twins pull off the comeback?
On June 1st, the Twins were 16.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians. A month and a half later, the Twins are just six games behind the Indians and Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.
Though I will say that if there is any team can pull this off, it would be the Twins.