Things to look for in the second half

The second half starts tomorrow! Here’s what to watch for:

The Wild East: The craziest and most interesting division in baseball will remain the American League East, with four teams over .500 and another that could conceivably do so (the Blue Jays). Can Boston keep it up? Can the Orioles or Rays finally get a good enough winning streak to overtake them? Will the Yankees finally decide whether they are a good team or a bad one? Can the Blue Jays finally put it together, or are they headed towards a giant flop?

Trade Deadline… without that many big names: By the end of the month, the following players may be traded: Matt Garza, Justin Morneau, Marlon Byrd, maybe Jesse Crain and… jeez, these are hardly game changers, aren’t they? I mean, they certainly are players that can decide the outcomes of games, and even one game can often make a difference between playoffs or not, but it feels like the days of big names getting moved at the deadline are at an end. Well, they are unless the Phillies finally give up on the year and start shopping Cliff Lee around.

Record Chases: Chris Davis is aiming for the AL HR record. Manny Machado has his sights on the season doubles record. Raul Ibanez is gunning for HRs in a season by somebody over 40. Can any of them do it?

Pirates!  Will they collapse again? Will they finally make the playoffs for the first time since Barry Bonds was skinny? Heck, will they finish .500 or better? Outlook good, but, well, it would be foolish to make assumptions.

Yasiel Puig. Can he keep it up, or will he turn out to be a flash-in-the-pan?

Well, we start finding out tomorrow…

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