MLB: How Your Team Can Win the World Series

Chris Murphy@@SeeMurphsTweetsAnalyst IJuly 15, 2010

MLB: How Your Team Can Win the World Series

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    The first half is officially over and an All-Star game no one watched has gone by and now we look to the second half of the 2010 season.

    We have a division with three playoff teams, no front-runner in the National League and teams looking to party crash the playoffs based on pre-season predictions.

    Predictions were meant to be incorrect and many teams, such as the Seattle Mariners and the Cincinnati Reds, are proving that.

    Otherwise, what's the point of playing the season.

    Plenty of baseball is left, so don't be jumping for joy just yet, thinking your predictions were right.

AL East - New York Yankees.

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    The Positive

    You have the best record in baseball. Your run differential (+117) is tops in all of baseball and after the Tampa Bay Rays (+105), the next best team is the Texas Rangers at +74.

    It isn't even close.

    Robinson Cano has finally put together a good first half. Scary enough, he is a second-half player, so he could somehow get better. He's looking like an MVP candidate.

    Nick Swisher provides run production and even in a down year, Derek Jeter is solid.

    You've missed Curtis Granderson and Jorge Posada for a period of time, had a struggling Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett and haven't had any help getting the ball to Mariano Rivera and yet, you are in first place.

    Teixeira's 11 games in July include four home runs, 12 RBI and 11 runs. He's back.

    In Burnett's last two starts before the half, he went 13.2 innings pitched, giving up just two earned runs. He has to get back.

    Phil Hughes has been a huge asset to the starting staff with Burnett struggling and Javier Vazquez going back to his above 4.00 ERA self.

    Brett Gardner has been amazing.

    The Negative

    Your bullpen has been awful. Lowest ERA in your bullpen is 4.08 and the rest are 5.79, 5.46, 6.18 and 6.75.

    Joba Chamberlain has ownership of that 5.79 ERA, giving up 42 hits and 14 walks in 37.1 innings pitched.

    Someone needs to get the ball to Rivera. Alfredo Aceves needs to get back to help this bullpen.

    Burnett has to step things up because who knows how long Andy Pettitte can keep a sub 3.00 ERA and the most innings Hughes has pitched in his career are 86 innings and he is at 101 currently.

    Directions to Champagne

    Assuming Hughes and Pettitte don't keep these numbers, Burnett and Vazquez will have to step up their game.

    Someone needs to take hold of the bullpen. Yankees do have prospects to give up and bullpen arms like Octavio Dotel, Kerry Wood, David Aardsma and Scott Downs should be on the market, but is a prospect worth a middle reliever?

    Finally, Granderson needs to get himself together. A .240 batting average and a .307 on-base percentage is simply not going to cut it.

    He hit 30 home runs and had 20 stolen bases last year. Currently, he is on pace for 14 home runs and 14 stolen bases.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    The Positive

    You have the lowest ERA in the American League. Jeff Niemann and David Price are dominating, while Matt Garza showed early signs of dominating.

    You've put this ERA together with very little help from James Shields and Wade Davis, both of whom we know have talent.

    Your defense continues to be stellar, which is a huge reason for your team ERA.

    You have the most stolen bases, along with the third best stolen base percentage.

    Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria continue to be amazing.

    You're two games back of the best team in baseball with Ben Zobrist not putting up the numbers from last year and Jason Bartlett and B.J. Upton doing a whole lot of nothing offensively.

    Your bullpen is solid with Grant Balfour, Joaquin Beniot and Dan Wheeler getting the ball to Rafael Soriano, who has been fantastic.

    The Negative

    You have the most strikeouts in the American League.

    Besides Longoria and Crawford, everyone in your lineup is struggling. Zobrist has been solid, but nowhere close to last year.

    Upton continues to disappoint and Bartlett has never been the same since getting hurt.

    Carlos Pena refuses to do anything a good batter should and instead just swings as hard as he can. Barely batting above the Mendoza line is inexcusable.

    Shields (4.87 ERA) is on his second disappointing season in a row, while Davis (4.67 ERA), although solid for a pitcher's first season, was expected to do more.

    You're in a division where perfection is a must.

    Price is the real deal, but is Niemann a dominant enough pitcher to be a solid No. 2 in the playoffs?

    Roy Oswalt and Dan Haren are on the market.

    Directions to Champagne

    Lineup has to get off Crawford and Longoria's shoulders.

    Starting rotation needs to get off Niemann and Price's shoulders. Having another starter with an ERA below 4.00 would be nice to compliment the other two.

Boston Red Sox

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    The Positive

    It can't get much worse with injuries and even with all of them, you are just five games out of the division lead and three games out of the wildcard.

    Josh Beckett, Jacoby Ellsbury, Victor Martinez, Manny Delcarmen and Clay Buchholz all should be returning.

    You've scored the most runs in baseball and hit the second most home runs.

    Adrian Beltre and Marco Scutaro are proving to be great pickups.

    David Ortiz seems to have turned things around.

    Kevin Youkilis is an MVP candidate.

    Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are going to be your No. 1 and No. 2 pitchers for a long time.

    You've done this with the 22nd best ERA in baseball. If John Lackey, Tim Wakefield or Daisuke Matsuzaka can possibly get their ERAs closer to 4.00 things can easily turn around.

    Also, a bit of help from the bullpen would be appreciated as well.

    Daniel Bard (1.91 ERA) has been extremely effective, but otherwise you're looking at ERAs of 4.79, 4.71 and 6.00 coming out of your pen. Even Jonathan Papelbon has a 3.50 ERA.

    The Negative

    Dustin Pedroia is waiting to find out if he will need surgery or not, which makes the difference between a quick return and being gone for the season.

    Will the above list of players return in time to compete in the almost unfair American League East?

    Bill Hall and Eric Patterson cannot hold down the fort. Mike Cameron has shown no power.

    Buchholz has to return ASAP and be effective because, besides Lester, the starting rotation is worthless.

    Directions to Champagne

    Ortiz cannot have a drop-off in the second half.

    Injuries have to heal as soon as possible because the longer the team is not healthy, the further away the healthy Yankees and Rays will be.

    Lackey needs to step up and pitch far better because Dice-K and Wakefield will most likely stay the same.

    Someone, besides Bard, in the bullpen must contribute.

Tornto Blue Jays

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    The Positive

    You're 10.5 out of the wildcard and you've done so with little help from Aaron Hill and Adam Lind.

    You have the most home runs in baseball behind Jose Bautista and Vernon Wells, who seems to finally be living up to his potential.

    Alex Gonzalez gave you a career year and you were able to trade him for Yunel Escobar because of it.

    You have two solid starting pitchers in Ricky Romero and Brett Cecil. Your best starter, Shaun Marcum, should be returning soon.

    The Negative

    You have the most home runs, but the third worst OBP in baseball.

    You have solid pieces in your pitching staff in Marcum, Romero, and Cecil, but no real ace. Brandon Morrow had a spurt of being unhittable, but has come back to reality.

    Same goes for your bullpen. Scott Downs and Shawn Camp are your best, but they aren't going to lead a good bullpen. Kevin Gregg, Jason Frasor, and Casey Janssen are nothing to write home about.

    Hill, Lind, and Edwin Encarnacion have been awful. Bautista is impossible to trust based on his track record.

    It took John Buck a long time to live up to speculations people had about him in Kansas City. Unfortunately, he's 30 years old, along with Bautista.

    Looking at things now, I'm not quite sure how you stayed in the race for so long.

    Directions to Champagne

    Not this year, being in the AL East.

    I don't see the best future either considering Lind (27) and Hill (28) have taken huge steps back, and Wells (32), Bautista (30), and Buck (30) are not getting any younger.

    Perhaps trading the older guys to a playoff contender for some prospects. Any team would have to give up a lot for Wells and Bautista at this point.

Baltimore Orioles

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    The Positive

    2010 is half over.

    Adam Jones has turned things around and you will need him for the future or for future trade bait.

    Jake Arrieta, 24-year-old pitcher, has shown some good signs, sporting a 4.38 ERA in seven starts.

    Corey Patterson, Ty Wigginton and Luke Scott need to be traded as soon as possible because their stock will never be higher.

    The Negative

    Basically everything.

    Your lowest ERA in your starting staff is 4.77.

    You've had closer issues. Mike Gonzalez, the original closer, was your big free agent signing.

    Youngsters Nolan Reimold and Matt Wieters have taken steps back.

    It seems as though Nick Markakis will never be a 30/30 guy.

    You have possibly the oldest infield I've ever seen with Wigginton, Julio Lugo, Cesar Izturis and Miguel Tejada.

    Directions to Champagne

    Mapquest says this may take awhile. You are going to have to basically trade everyone except Jones, Markakis, Wieters and Reimold for pitching prospects.

    Either that or change divisions.

AL Central - Chicago White Sox

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    The Positive

    You are in first place after being 9.5 games out a month ago. You are the hottest team in baseball, going 26-5 in your last 31.

    You have the fifth most home runs in all of baseball and the third most steals.

    Carlos Quentin is showing signs of two season ago, Paul Konerko is showing signs of five seasons ago and Alex Rios may finally put up 30/30.

    Alexei Ramirez has finally learned how to play shortstop.

    You are getting surprising defensive years out of Juan Pierre and Gordon Beckham.

    Dayan Viciedo looks like some kind of monster and hits like one too.

    You have arguably the best bullpen in all of baseball behind Sergio Santos, J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton.

    You've done this with no production from A.J. Pierzynski, Beckham and your DH position.

    Four of your starting pitchers have been nearly unhittable in the last month.

    Everyone now realizes how worthless Joe West is, which you have been saying for years.

    The Negative

    You are mediocre in all offensive categories except home runs and steals. Your stealing percentage is the third-worst in all of baseball.

    Jake Peavy is gone for the season.

    You're relying on all starters, including Freddy Garcia, to stay healthy due to having no viable option to replace them with Daniel Hudson already in the rotation.

    Beckham has taken a step back in his progress.

    What do you do when Mark Teahen comes back?

    Will Viciedo get sent down or move to DH?

    What are you going to do about the DH situation, since neither Mark Kotsay or Andruw Jones are getting things done?

    Directions to Champagne

    Everything rests on the young arm of 23-year-old Daniel Hudson. A strong second half from him and the White Sox are in great shape.

    All other starters clearly must stay healthy.

    Someone after Rios in the lineup will have to step up. Pierzynski, Beckham, Kotsay/Jones are three of the remaining four spots in the lineup after Rios.

    Are those three positions really going to ask 21-year-old Viciedo to take charge or step up themselves?

Detroit Tigers

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    The Positive

    Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch are 23 and 25, respectively. Both are the perfect compliments to veterans Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen.

    Cabrera is a triple-crown possibility.

    Ordonez is having a great year.

    Johnny Damon has been a pretty good pickup, especially since he doesn't have to play the field.

    Justin Verlander looks as good as last year.

    Max Scherzer has given up nine earned runs in his last 41 innings pitched after being sent to the minors.

    Rick Porcello will return from his minor league stint this week. If he brings the same results, the Tigers will have a set three in their starting rotation.

    Your bullpen is incredible with Brad Thomas (4.12 ERA), Eddie Bonine (2.81), Phil Coke (2.48) and Jose Valverde (0.92).

    The Negative

    After Verlander, the starting staff is a bit sketchy. Although Scherzer has been hot and Armando Galarraga and Jeremy Bonderman have been serviceable, the Tigers do not have a solid No. 2.

    A lot is riding on two young players in Boesch and Jackson.

    Directions to Champagne

    Someone from the rotation is going to have to emerge as the No. 2, while Boesch and Jackson cannot have drop offs.

    Gerald Laird should probably learn to hit at some point as well.

Minnesota Twins

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    The Positive

    You have the best run differential in the division.

    Justin Morneau is an MVP candidate.

    Delmon Young has finally decided to play to his potential.

    Orlando Hudson and Jim Thome were good pickups.

    You're still in the race while having no production from Nick Punto, J.J. Hardy, a down year from Denard Span and an extremely human year from Joe Mauer.

    Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano have been a solid two. If only Kevin Slowey or Scott Baker would make it three.

    Jon Rauch is leading an amazing bullpen with Matt Guerrier (2.97 ERA), Brian Duensing (1.62), Jesse Crain (3.93), Alex Burnett (3.60) and lefties Jose Mijares (2.41) and Ron Mahay (3.81)

    The Negative

    Kubel hasn't progressed as one would have hoped, which could stem from Mauer's down year.

    Slowey (4.64 ERA) and Baker (4.87) and Nick Blackburn (6.40) haven't been the trio from two years ago one would have hoped.

    Punto no longer has a trampoline in the Metrodome to fake hits off of.

    Hardy has been awful.

    Directions to Champagne

    Either Slowey or Baker are going to have to give the Twins another starter because does anyone think Pavano can continue this?

    Twins go where Mauer goes, so he will have to have a big second half.

    Finally, the Twins get Young to play well and the year he does it, Mauer is struggling. God bless baseball.

    Better numbers from Span and Michael Cuddyer wouldn't hurt either. But once again, I believe those down numbers are based around Mauer.

Kansas City Royals

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    The Positive

    You have the best batting average in baseball.

    Your offense certainly is nothing to yawn at anymore.

    You've had great years from veterans Scott Podsednik, Jose Guillen and David DeJesus, making them all solid trade bait.

    Billy Butler (24 years old) continues to show signs of being a great hitter for a long time.

    Zach Greinke is having another solid year, although not as immortal as last year.

    Joakim Soria is amazing.

    The Negative

    You're 26th in home runs and 26th in ERA.

    Your best starting pitcher outside of Greinke is Bruce Chen, which is never a good sign.

    Directions to Champagne

    You're 10.5 games back, but I just don't see it.

    You rely on 10 hits to score three runs.

    You either need to get some power or trade everyone except Butler, Greinke, Soria and maybe Aviles and rebuild.

    Send the aging veterans to playoff contenders for some prospects.

Cleveland Indians

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    The Positive

    Fausto Carmona seems to have fixed himself.

    Shin-Soo Choo has had another solid year if not for injury.

    Carlos Santana (24 years old) is having a great first season.

    Chris Perez is your closer of the future as soon as you trade Kerry Wood to a playoff contender, who will overpay for him.

    The Negative

    Will Grady Sizemore ever be the same again?

    Travis Hafner proves steroids do work.

    None of the prospects you have invested in ever seem to pay off long-term.

    Directions to Champagne

    Not for awhile.

    You should probably trade Sizemore.

    You should certainly trade Wood and Carmona.

    Essentially trade anyone over the age of 25 you can get something in return for.

    Some changes in the front office could help as well.

AL West - Texas Rangers

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    The Positive

    You were in first place and had the biggest lead of any division and then you added Cliff Lee.

    You've scored the third most runs, have had the second best batting average, fifth best on-base percentage, sixth most stolen bases and the 11th most home runs in baseball.

    Your offense can do it all with Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, Vladimir Guerrero and Josh Hamilton. Add Elvis Andrus and Julio Borbon to the lineup and you have yourselves even more speed.

    Hamilton is an MVP candidate.

    You had a soft spot at catcher and added Bengie Molina. If Chris Davis can do absolutely anything at first base, it would be a plus.

    Your starting rotation is Lee (2.64 ERA), C.J. WIlson (3.35), Colby Lewis (3.33), Scott Feldman (5.32) and Tommy Hunter (2.34 in 42.1 innings).

    Your bullpen has Frank Francisco (4.28), Darren O'Day (1.49), Darren Oliver (1.36) to get the ball to Neftali Feliz (3.82)

    The Negative

    Wilson has never thrown more than 73.2 innings. He is at 113.

    Last time Lewis threw more than 37.2 innings was in 2003 when he threw 127 innings and sported a 7.30 ERA.

    Hunter is in only in his second season, after sporting a 4.30 ERA in 112 innings last year.

    These guys will need to hold up alongside Lee in order to contend.

    Feldman is also having an awful year after an extremely strong one last year.

    Maybe Rich Harden could supply half of a season, since that is all he's ever done in his career. He'd have to do that when he returns from the DL, but we all know that won't happen.

    Offensively, I see absolutely nothing negative. Rangers got the pickup of the year with Guerrero.

    Directions to Champagne

    Someone needs to emerge as a clear No. 2 next to Lee.

    If the offense stays healthy, there is no reason it can't continue to drive pitchers crazy.

Los Angeles Angels

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    The Positive

    Torii Hunter is having an incredible year.

    You lost one of your best hitters, if not your best, in Kendry Morales, and you are still ninth in runs in baseball.

    Erik Aybar, Howie Kendrick, Hideki Matsui, and Bobby Abreu have been solid, although all three have their pitfalls.

    You have one of the best starting pitchers in baseball in Jered Weaver. Joel Pineiro and Ervin Santana compliment Weaver well in the rotation.

    The Negative

    Boy would Vladimir Guerrero and Morales look good in this lineup.

    Hunter is the only one in the lineup who can hit for average and power.

    Aybar, Kendrick, and Abreu are nice pieces to have around a Hunter, Morales, and a Guerrero, but they can't replace them.

    Matsui and Abreu's numbers are down in average as well. Both will get you 20 home runs, which is fine, if they were surrounding Morales.

    Around Aybar, Kendrick, Hunter, Abreu, and Matsui is nothing. Rivera is struggling and third, first, and catcher have been empty positions for the Angels.

    Angels are 24th in ERA thanks to Joe Saunders and Scott Kazmir in the starting rotation, to go along with a bullpen where everyone is above a 4.00 ERA, except Fernando Rodney at 3.57.

    Directions to Champagne

    Get another power bat for this lineup and another bullpen arm.

    Prince Fielder or Adam Dunn would be perfect for this lineup.

    Your starting staff has three pitchers below a 4.00 ERA, so if Saunders or Kazmir can get themselves together, you could feasibly compete with the Rangers.

Oakland Athletics

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    The Positive

    You've got good, young pitching.

    Gio Gonzalez (25 years old) has a 3.79 ERA in 107 innings pitched. Trevor Cahill (22) has a 2.94 ERA in 95 innings. Vin Mazzaro (24) has a 3.81 ERA in 56.2 innings.

    We all know Dallas Braden. He's 27 and has a 3.83 ERA in 94 innings.

    Andrew Bailey has 18 saves and a 1.70 ERA in 37 innings at the age of 26.

    You're 7.5 games back and have the eighth best ERA in baseball and you've done so with injuries to Josh Outman (26), Joey Devine (27) and Brett Anderson (22), along with veteran Justin Duchscherer, who came back to throw 28 innings of 2.89 ball, only to fall to injury.

    The Negative

    You have no offense.

    You are 23rd in runs scored and your leading home run hitter is Kurt Suzuki with 10.

    Ryan Sweeney and Rajai Davis are solid at the top of the order, but you have absolutely no power.

    Eric Chavez is hurt as usual and Suzuki and Kevin Kouzmanoff cannot be any playoff team's power hitters.

    As usual, yes, you have good young pitching, but as usual, they have gotten hurt.

    Directions to Champagne

    Not this year.

    You have an abundance of good, young pitching.

    Why not trade some of it for a good power bat?

    Nothing is going to happen in Oakland with the refusal to put together an offense.

    On-base percentage is fine, but someone at some point needs to drive those hitters in.

Seattle Mariners

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    The Positive

    You have the third best ERA in baseball.

    You traded Cliff Lee for some quality prospects unlike a certain Cleveland GM.

    Jason Vargas (3.09 ERA), Doug Fister (3.09) have complemented Felix Hernandez well and are 27 and 26, respectively.

    You have Felix Hernandez.

    Milton Bradley stopped talking.

    The Negative

    For the second straight season, you have wasted great pitching by having absolutely no offense.

    You are 29th in runs scored and 27th in on-base percentage.

    Your leading home run hitter is Bradley with eight. Your leading RBI man is Jose Lopez with 37.

    Will Erik Bedard ever not be injured?

    Chone Figgins was a total bust.

    All you can do is dream about a rotation of Lee, Hernandez, Bedard, Vargas and Fister because that will never and before the season it looked pretty good.

    How long are you going to waste having great pitching and Ichiro Suzuki?

    Did you really think Russell Branyan was the answer?

    Directions to Champagne

    Not this year.

    You have good, young pitching, but at some point you need to put a decent lineup together.

    Get something for David Aardsma while you still can.

NL East - Atlanta Braves

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    The Positive

    Troy Glaus is a comeback player of the year candidate.

    Speaking of comeback, Tim Hudson's return from Tommy John surgery is incredible, sporting a 2.30 ERA on the season.

    You have the fourth best ERA in the NL and the best on-base percentage offensively.

    You are getting a huge year from Martin Prado.

    You just added Alex Gonzalez from the Blue Jays for struggling Yunel Escobar, who could give you more pop.

    Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth should be returning from injury at some point.

    You have a solid bullpen with Eric O'Flaherty, Takashi Saito and Peter Moylan handing it to the unhittable Billy Wagner.

    You're four games up and you haven't had Tommy Hanson or Jair Jurrjens on top of their games. Jurrjens has given up five runs in 17.2 innings since coming back from the DL.

    Kris Medlen is 25 and is 6-1 with a 3.16 ERA in 88.1 innings pitched.

    The Negative

    Glaus has hit a wall. He is 13 for his last 79 and has not a home run since June 19.

    Without Glaus, you are depending on Brian McCann and now Alex Gonzalez as your power hitters with Jason Heyward out and struggling.

    Chipper Jones and Melky Cabrera have provided very little offense.

    What will McLouth do when he returns?

    Directions to Champagne

    Get Glaus back on track. A lineup featuring Prado, McCann, Glaus, Heyward and Gonzalez can be scary, but it also can totally flop.

    Some help from Jones and Cabrera would be greatly appreciated.

    Hanson and Jurrjens clearly have the talent to dominate, so that could turnaround quickly.

    Hudson has to continue his play as well.

    Keep striking while the Phillies are struggling offensively because I can't see that continuing.

New York Mets

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    The Positive

    Your four games back and you've done this with very little help from Jason Bay and without Carlos Beltran.

    Beltran is back.

    Your lineup is scary again.

    Angel Pagan and Ike Davis have been gifts to go along with David Wright. Jose Reyes isn't where you'd like to see him in a perfect world, but he could get 40 stolen bases and 100 runs.

    Your starting pitching has been amazing.

    Johan Santana has a 2.98 ERA, Mike Pelfrey has a 3.58, Johnathon Niese has a 3.61, R.A. Dickey has a 2.17 and Hisanori Takahasi has a 4.17.

    If John Maine or Oliver Perez return, where would you even put them?

    Your bullpen has been amazing as well behind Bobby Parnell, Elmer Dessens, Pedro Feliciano and Francisco Rodriguez.

    Doesn't look like the bullpen will be blowing any playoff chances this year.

    The Negative

    Bay has been awful. Rod Barajas is falling as well.

    Will Angel Pagan continue this hitting in the second half?

    How will Beltran be when he returns?

    How long can we depend on the starting rotation outside of Santana?

    Directions to Champagne

    Answer the above questions in a positive matter.

    None of it is far-fetched and the fact you have come this far with a struggling Bay and no Beltran is amazing.

    If those two can simply do anything, it would be a plus.

    But if those two do not, that is a lot of pressure on Davis and Pagan.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    The Positive

    You're 4.5 games back with no Chase Utley, and Raul Ibanez and Jimmy Rollins struggling.

    Placido Polanco should be returning this week.

    Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino are still having good years without Utley.

    Utley could be back mid-August.

    You have Roy Halladay and his 2.19 ERA.

    Cole Hamels has actually somewhat shown up this year.

    Jamie Moyer is still alive.

    J.C. Romero and Jose Contreras have saved your bullpen.

    The Negative

    Ibanez and Rollins have been terrible. Without Polanco and Utley the Phillies offense seems lost.

    Outside of Romero and Contreras, the bullpen is awful.

    Hamels needs to step things up in order to be the No. 2 alongside Halladay.

    Directions to Champagne

    You need to add someone to your bullpen. Options are out there.

    Bite the bullet until Utley gets back. When he returns, your offense is going to blow up.

    Moyer and Kyle Kendrick need to stay solid as the third and fourth starters.

    If Joe Blanton could stop being awful, that could help too.

Florida Marlins

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    The Positive

    You have Josh Johnson.

    You have Hanley Ramirez.

    Dan Uggla is having an incredible season.

    Mike Stanton looks like the real deal.

    Chris Coghlan did not take a step back in his sophomore season.

    You have a nice core with Ramirez, Uggla, Coghlan, Cantu, Stanton, Johnson and Anibal Sanchez to go along with young bullpen arms in Leo Nunez, Taylor Tankersley and Alex Sanabia.

    The Negative

    After Johnson and Sanchez, the starting rotation doesn't have much to offer.

    You have the second most errors in all of baseball.

    You're mediocre in everything, sitting at 14th in runs scored, 14th in ERA and 18th in OBP.

    Bad defense is not going to help mediocre pitching.

    Directions to Champagne

    You're very close with that core, but I don't think it will happen this year.

    Better years out of Cody Ross and Cantu would have helped.

    A nice third and fourth starter for after Johnson and Sanchez would have helped too.

    Ricky Nolasco is a good pitcher and is showing signs of that, but he needs to be far more consistent.

Washington Nationals

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    The Positive

    Stephen Strasburg was worth all the hype.

    You got strong years out of Ian Desmond, who is 25, and Roger Bernadina, who is 26.

    Josh Willingham seems to get better each year and he, along with Adam Dunn, could be good trade bait.

    Your bullpen is full of young arms in Tyler Clippard (25), Drew Storen (23), Sean Burnett (28).

    J.D. Martin is 27 and has a 3.35 ERA in 40.1 innings pitched.

    Future is very bright in Washington.

    The Negative

    You have the most errors in baseball. You need some defense.

    You need to build a team around Ryan Zimmerman before he decides to leave.

    You have a lot of trade bait, so use it correctly.

    Directions to Champagne

    Prepare for the Strasburg/Bryce Harper years.

NL Central - Cincinnati Reds

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    The Positive

    You're in first place even as the Cardinals have had a healthy Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.

    Joey Votto hates the Chicago Cubs, so much he refused to congratulate Marlon Byrd at the All-Star game.

    "I don't like the Cubs," Votto said. "And I'm not going to pat anybody with a Cubs uniform on the back."

    Nice to see some sports still have competition. I don't think Votto will be meeting with other free agents to form a dream team.

    Oh, Votto is also really, really good.

    Brandon Phillips is doing his normal production, which is amazing.

    Pleasant surprises come at third in Scott Rolen and the entire outfield in Jonny Gomez, Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce.

    All are on pace for 20 home runs and Gomez is on pace for 120 RBI, while Stubbs is on pace for 34 stolen bases. Stubbs is in his first full season and Bruce is in his third.

    Bruce still strikes out too much, but has raised his average and OBP to be reasonable.

    Your highest ERA in your starting staff is Bronson Arroyo who has a 4.04.

    Mike Leake is 23 and is 6-1 with a 3.53 ERA in 109.2 innings pitched.

    You've done this with nothing from Edison Volquez, who will return in the second half.

    Travis Wood (23) and Matt Maloney (26) have combined to pitch 32.1 innings and have given up nine earned runs.

    Johnny Cueto seems to have left the last two seasons behind him.

    The Negative

    Dusty Baker is managing your team and we all know he enjoys ruining young pitcher's arms.

    Leak has never pitched in the majors and Baker will most likely pitch him over 200 innings.

    That whole Baker coaching thing could also be why the entire Reds bullpen has ERAs above four, except Arthur Rhodes.

    Baker isn't really good with "decisions."

    Regardless, someone has to step up in that bullpen.

    The Cardinals have a better run differential by 14 runs than the Reds, so this good luck may come to an end, meaning the Reds need a bullpen to keep wins as wins.

    How long will Rolen stay healthy?

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    Someone has to come out of the bullpen. Even Francisco Cordero has to get things together.

    There is no room for error. The Cardinals are a better team, but haven't played like it and with Matt Holliday recently going off, things could change at any point.

    You must take advantage of the position you're in.

    Rolen cannot get hurt, Bruce can't continue striking out, Gomez, Phillips and Votto have to continue producing and an increase in Stubbs plate discipline could help.

St. Louis Cardinals

21 of 30

    The Positive

    You have the best run differential in the division.

    You're second in MLB in ERA.

    Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright are healthy and extremely good.

    Carpenter, Wainwright, and Jaime Garcia are better than anyone in the Reds starting rotation.

    Matt Holliday took nearly a half of the season off, but has recently been on a tear, hitting five home runs in his last six games.

    You're one game back with little contribution from Skip Schumaker, Yadier Molina and Brendan Ryan.

    Colby Rasmus is 24 and awesome.

    You have Albert Pujols.

    The Negative

    Outside of your first three starters, your rotation is awful.

    Ryan, Molina, and Schumaker have been awful.

    Your bullpen is solid, but Ryan Franklin is not what he was last season.

    Holliday gave you a nice spurt at the end of the first half, but has been extremely inconsistent.

    You are 19th in runs scored. Outside of Rasmus, Holliday and Pujols, your offense has had very little production.

    Ryan Ludwick and David Freese are hurt.

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    Someone needs to bat around Rasmus, Holliday and Pujols.

    You cannot have a black hole of six batters in your lineup.

    You can't have a fourth starter with a 6.55 ERA, so Jeff Suppan needs to fix something.

    Ludwick and Freese need to return as do Kyle Lohse and Brad Penny.

    Once this team is healthy, there is your division champs.

    Will that be in time, however?

Milwaukee Brewers

22 of 30

    The Positive

    Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks are back.

    Casey McGehee is no fluke.

    Alcides Escobar is showing some talent.

    Prince Fielder overcame a terrible start and now has caught the eye of all playoff contenders looking for another bat.

    Yovani Gallardo is going to be your ace for a long time.

    The Negative

    After Gallardo, your starting rotation is a bunch of fourth starters.

    Dave Bush, Randy Wolf, and Manny Parra are going go give you ERAs in the mid fours and then you have Doug Davis, who is awful.

    Your bullpen is a mess with people figuring out how to hit Trevor Hoffman and basically anyone in it.

    John Axford has been a pleasant surprise in the whole bullpen mess and he is just 27.

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    You need another starter, badly.

    You have the 27th best ERA in baseball, so perhaps two starters and an actual bullpen.

    It may be time to trade Fielder for a boatload of prospects.

    You have Braun, Weeks, Hart and McGehee to go with Gallardo.

    It has been the same story in Milwaukee for years; great lineup, but no pitching.

Chicago Cubs

23 of 30

    The Positive

    You have young talent in Josh Vitters, Andrew Cashner, Starlin Castro to go along with the older young talent of Carlos Marmol and Geovany Soto.

    You have many names other teams would take off your hands.

    You have a solid starting pitching staff with Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly, Carlos Silva, Randy Wells and Tom Gorzelanny.

    Cashner, Sean Marshall and Marmol have been fantastic out of your bullpen.

    For once, Jim Hendry overpaid a good player in Marlon Byrd.

    The Negative

    Your bullpen is awful.

    Carlos Zambrano has gone back in time to become a five-year-old.

    Jim Hendry overpaid the wrong players too much money.

    All that awaits is the dreaded word "rebuild."

    The ship has sailed.

    It is time to unload everyone, but many can't be unloaded due to GM Jim Hendry being incompetent.

    Following players should be dumped or traded or something: Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly, Carlos Silva, Marlon Byrd, Kosuke Fukudome...let's make this easier.

    Trade anyone with some sort of talent, who is too old and whose contract isn't outrageous, which may be easier said than done.

    Cubs have to begin rebuilding and that isn't a terrible thing when you have young talent and older talent you can get more young talent for.

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    Fire Jim Hendry and then rebuild, not vice versa.

Houston Astros

24 of 30

    The Positive

    You're not as bad as the Pirates?

    People will offer you good players for Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt. I suggest you take those offers.

    I suggest you also offer Carlos Lee, Matt Lindstrom, Brandon Lyon, Brett Meyers and anyone else on the team who is older with some talent because it is time to rebuild.

    The Berkman and Oswalt duo did you some great things and even got you to a World Series, but it is time to move on.

    The Negative

    Berkman and Lee are not what they used to be.

    Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence are not what they were last year.

    Oswalt had a nice return, but for naught.

    You've scored the third-lowest runs in baseball and have third worst run differential.

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    Let go of the stars from the past and rebuild.

Pittsburgh Pirates

25 of 30

    The Positive

    You no longer have the worst future in the division.

    Houston and Chicago will join you in rebuilding hell.

    Difference is, however, you at least have your centerpiece in Andrew McCutchen.

    The Negative

    You don't have as much to offer as Houston or Chicago.

    You have Octavio Dotel, Garret Jones and Paul Maholm. May have to trade Evan Meek while you still can as well.

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    GPS says you're lost.

NL West - San Diego Padres

26 of 30

    The Positive

    You have the best ERA in baseball, you've struck out the third most batters, so it can't just be PetCo and you have the lowest batting average against in baseball.

    Your starting rotation is as follows:

    Jon Garland - 3.56 ERA
    Clayton Richard - 3.33 ERA
    Mat Latos - 2.45 ERA
    Wade LeBlanc - 3.30 ERA
    Kevin Correia - 5.26 ERA

    The lowest ERA in your bullpen is 3.00.

    Adrian Gonzalez continues to dominate pitching.

    The Negative

    After Gonzalez's 18 home runs, the next highest total on the team is 8. Padres are 22nd in runs scored in baseball.

    Garland on the road = 4.53 ERA, at home = 2.62 ERA
    Richard on the road = 3.72 ERA, at home = 3.07 ERA
    LeBlanc on the road = 5.12 ERA, at home = 2.36 ERA

    Maybe it is PetCo.

    How long can these pitchers last?

    How long can this team last with no offense?

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    Either get another big bat like Prince Fielder or Adam Dunn or get a more solidified starting pitching like Roy Oswalt.

    I can't see this current team winning the division.

    If any of the starting pitchers fall even slightly, this offense will not pick them up.

Los Angeles Dodgers

27 of 30

    The Positive

    You're two games back with Manny Ramirez taking every other day off, Matt Kemp struggling offensively and defensively, along with Casey Blake and Russell Martin.

    Rafael Furcal is one of the hottest hitters in baseball right now.

    Andre Ethier and James Loney are incredible.

    You've scored the seventh-most runs in baseball.

    You have four starters in Clayton Kershaw (2.96 ERA), Hiroki Kuroda (3.87), Chad Billingsley (4.14) and Vincente Padilla (4.04) that are solid.

    You have a nice 1-2 punch in the bullpen with Hong-Chih Kuo and Jonathan Broxton.

    The Negative

    Kemp is struggling offensively and defensively.

    Will Blake DeWitt ever return to any kind of production?

    Casey Blake and Martin have been non-existant this year.

    At their best, a lineup of Furcal, Kemp, Ethier, Loney and Ramirez is frightening.

    Billingsley needs to be a No. 2 next to Kershaw. Kuroda most likely can't be that guy come playoff time.

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    Adding another starting pitcher would be huge for this team.

    Offensively, there isn't much you can do because it is hard to replace any of these guys because you know they can hit, they simply just aren't right now.

    Blake should turn things around, but Martin hasn't turned anything around in a few years.

    Kemp will have a big second half. He has to.

Colorado Rockies

28 of 30

    The Positive

    You have Ubaldo Jimenez.

    You are sixth in baseball in runs scored.

    Carlos Gonzalez is 25 years old and already incredible.

    Seth Smith has been the second best bat next to Gonzalez.

    Miguel Olivo has been quite the offseason pickup.

    Ian Stewart has lived up to some of last year's potential.

    You're two games back with Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton on the DL.

    Tulowitzki could return before August.

    Even without Taylor Buchholz, your bullpen is solid with Matt Belisle, Joe Beimel and Huston Street.

    The Negative

    Your starting pitching outside of Jimenez is awful.

    Jorge De La Rose (4.94 ERA), Aaron Cook (4.88 ERA), Jeff Francis (5.14), and Jason Hammel (4.08) is simply not going to win a division.

    You are still 15th in ERA in baseball thanks to your bullpen and Jimenez.

    Gonzalez, Smith and Olivo have been blessings to this team, but Hawpe, Barmes and Stewart will need to supply some production with Tulowitzki out for an extended period of time.

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    Something has to be done with that starting pitching.

    This division is way too tight to wait for Tulowitzki to come back as well, so someone is going to have to provide a spark in the middle of the lineup.

San Francisco Giants

29 of 30

    The Positive

    You're four games out and you have the third best ERA in baseball.

    Tim Lincecum (3.16 ERA), Matt Cain (3.34), Barry Zito (3.76), and Jonathan Sanchez (3.47) are four of your starting pitchers.

    Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe have given you some surprising offense.

    Buster Posey looks like the real deal.

    Five guys in your bullpen have ERAs of 3.21 or lower to get the ball to Brian Wilson, who has a 1.91 ERA.

    You're four games back and Pablo Sandoval has been a huge disappointment.

    The Negative

    Same old story with the Giants.

    Amazing pitching and no hitting.

    After Huff's 17 home runs and Uribe's 12, Aaron Rowand has the most with eight along with a .238 batting average.

    Giants are 20th in runs scored in baseball.

    Sandoval does not look to be turning anything around any time soon.

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    This team would be impossible to face in the playoffs with Lincecum and Cain as the No. 1 and No. 2 then either Sanchez or Zito as the No. 3.

    But a team has to have some kind of offense to win ball games.

    Giants have the second best run differential in the division, but they sit in fourth place because of their lack of consistent offense.

Arizona Diamondbacks

30 of 30

    The Positive

    You actually have a pretty good starting staff with ERAs of 4.36, 4.92, 4.12, and 4.40. Unfortunately those are ERAs for solid No. 3 or No.4 starters.

    Had Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson lived up to what they were supposed to, Ian Kennedy and Rodrigo Lopez would be excellent compliments to them.

    Offensively the team is not bad.

    Justin Upton, Chris Young, Adam LaRoche, Kelly Johnson and Mark Reynolds have been solid.

    Diamondbacks have the sixth most home runs in baseball, but also have the most strikeouts in baseball at 817. Florida is in second with 698.

    You can get a lot for Dan Haren, so I suggest you look into that.

    The Negative

    You strikeout too much.

    Your bullpen is god-awful. ERAs in the bullpen are 3.83, 6.96, 8.60, 4.75, 4.82, 3.00, 4.76.

    In fact, in your entire pitching staff, you have two pitchers with ERAs below four and they have pitched a combined 27.2 innings.

    That gives you the worst ERA in baseball, which means no amount of home runs can save you.

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    You have a solid core of hitters in Reynolds, Young and Upton.

    Trade Johnson, LaRoche and Haren and see what you can get pitching-wise.