Half Time for Major League Baseball

The top two teams in baseball each enter the ALL--Star break on a losing note. The LA Dodgers, who are #1 in the ESPN Power Rankings, won the first of a 4-game home stand against the Padres, but then lost 3 in a row to them. In the AL, the New York Yankees won back to back 8-4 extra inning games-which is kind of strange- and then lost their last two to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays-with the split- did not gain or lose ground to New York, so they remain 6.5 games back. LA still has a commanding 13.5 game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The closest division remains the NL Central, where the Cubs have just half a game lead over Milwaukee, and last place Cincinnati is just 4.5 games out. In any other division, 4.5 games behind the division leader would be good enough for second place, so it's safe to say that division remains wide open for the taking.

For the All-Star game, the AL is on a 6-game winning streak, and again are listed as favorites at -115- the NL is -105. But these past 6 games have all been very close. The last two were both decided in extra innings, and of the 6 games the AL have won in a row, the combined win margin is just 13 runs. This will be the 5th All-Star game played in Cleveland, the AL leads the series 3-1 in games played in Cleveland, the last being in 1997. Since that 1997 game, the NL has only won 4 times. But I think the AL streak will come to an end this year. The Dodger's Ryu will get the start. He is 10-2, with a 1.73 ERA, which leads the league in both categories. Add to that sluggers Yelich, Bellinger, Baez and McNeil, and the NL is hard to bet against this year.