First off, let me congratulate the National League for ending its 11-year drought of winning the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Tuesday night at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park by a score of 3-2 over the American League when Most Valuable Player Elias Diaz, Colorado Rockies catcher, hit a two-run home run off Baltimore Orioles closer Felix Bautista in the eight inning for the game-winning hit.
Also, kudos go out to Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on getting past Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena to win the 2023 Home Run Derby on Monday night at T-Mobile Park.
Now that all the activities of “The Mid-Summer Classic” and the All-Star Break now is behind us, what can we expect in the second half of the 2023 MLB season, which for most teams will begin tonight.
In both the American League and National League, how will the pennant chase take shape. In the AL East, the Rays are leading the way while the Boston Red Sox are in last place but still within reach at nine games back.
In the AL Central, four teams are in the hunt, with the Cleveland Guardians atop the standings, the Minnesota Twins one-half game behind, the Detroit Tigers 5.5 games back and the Chicago White Sox eight games behind.
The Texas Rangers have a two-game lead over their state rival, the Houston Astros, in the AL West, with the Seattle Mariners seven games back and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim eight games behind.
When you go to the NL, the NL East seems to be dominated by the Atlanta Braves, who enter second-half play 8.5 games ahead of the Miami Marlins, as they other teams are double digits in games behind the Braves.
The NL Central and West divisions aren’t quite this way. In the NL Central, the Cincinnati Reds lead the division, with the Milwaukee Brewers a game behind, the Chicago Cubs seven games behind and the Pittsburgh Pirates 8.5 games behind.
In the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers caught the Arizona Diamondbacks at the break to be co-leaders of the division as the second half of the season commences. The San Francisco Giants are 2.5 games behind, while the San Diego Padres are 8.5 games off the pace.
Will these standings stay this way? Will they get more bunched up? Will teams within single digits in games behind their respective leader stay that way or get bumped out of contention? We’ll just have to see as “The Dog Days of August” roll around.
Don’t forget the next big day for MLB, Monday, July 31 — the trade deadline, as any trades after this date have to clear waivers. One big talk toward the last week or so of the first half of the season was will Angels’ all-purpose player Shohei Ohtani be traded, especially since he will be a free agent at the end of this season, and the Angels may not be able to get into playoff contention since Ohtani’s partner in the Angels’ 1-2 punch, center fielder Mike Trout, currently is out with a hand injury.
During Tuesday night’s All-Star Game, Seattle fans were not bashful in letting their wishing be known that they would love to have him be a Mariner.
What teams will be wheeling and dealing? What blockbuster trades will happen on July 31? We’ll just have to be patient and see.
Also, July 25 is the deadline for any of those drafted in this week’s MLB Draft have until 4 p.m. July 25 to sign, except for players who have their exhausted college eligibility. Will we see Roland’s Jaxon Wiggins slap his John Hancock on a contract, or any Oklahoma State University and/or University of Arkansas and/or Oral Roberts University drafted player ink a contract? We will see what takes place over these next two weeks.
David Seeley is sports editor at Your TIMES. He can be reached by telephone at (918) 775-4433, Ext. 139 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.