By Paul Mahaney
So it’s July 21, and you’re sitting with a record of 35 wins and 60 losses, but the second half of the season is just starting, and it’s a chance for new beginnings.
Yeah if you believe in fairytales it might be a chance for a fresh start, but you are the Miami Marlins, and let’s face it, you, well you are not very good, in fact, you stink, and you are rank-smelling, and you rank last in all of baseball.
Too harsh, perhaps, but if you are the Marlins all is lost, except for 35 games, and perhaps another handful for the balance of the season. Their cousins, the Houston Astros, are also without a fairy God-manager.
But what about the other teams, do they have a second chance to erase bad memories of the first half of the season?
Realistically, if today you are a team seating further than 7 games back, your chances of rebirth are not very good, but not impossible. The time of miracles is September, yet if you are sitting back by double-digits now would be the time to start making your own luck.
A team that is 7 or less back of a division leader has a better chance of pulling off a miracle to remember. For example teams like the Yankees, Nationals, Phillies, Royals, and even the Padres could actually get hot, and suddenly find themselves right in the thick of a pennant race come September.
More likely though is the possibility those proven competitors from last year, and teams winning in the first half of this year—who are currently sitting within 5 games of a playoff spot right now—are going to make a push to get closer before September.
That means the D-Backs should beware of the revived Dodgers, Rockies, and Giants as they have had the All-Star break to catch their collective breath.
Also the hot running Red Sox are not out of the woods yet when it comes to the hard charging Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles. Both the Rays and O’s picked up right where they left off in the first half.
Manager Terry Francona has the Cleveland Indians believing they are among the elite, and it is probably going to go down to the wire with them and the Detroit Tigers. August could tell the tale here as these two will see each other basically 6 times.
Two of these three, Cardinals, Pirates and Reds will probably get playoff spots in the National League, leaving one of them exhausted from the battle come October.
The Nationals have been not much more than an annoyance to the Braves this season. I believe this might well continue to be the case, but if Washington were to do well against the Braves in their 6 meetings in August, then those 3 game’s in Washington against the Braves in September, might prove special.
Finally, the A’s and Rangers had the spectacular finish last year, and this year they have threatened to leave everyone in their division far behind, but the Angels refuse to die.
They see the A’s and Rangers 6 times each before August 15th, and 6 times each again in September.
If the Angels do well in those meetings, come the last week of September—when they close against the A’s and Rangers to end the season—it could make what happen last season pale in comparison.
It appears that most of the teams this season have a second chance to prove why they were made big-leaguers in the first place.
All that remains to be seen now is who will have the pumpkin pull-up in their driveway come the end of October.