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It’s only another week until the All Star Game, and there’s still no clear contenders. The Yankees are the first to 50 wins, and the Braves are the first to 30 home wins, while the Orioles still haven’t reached 10 road wins. Minnesota has been slipping, and is now tied for the division lead with Detroit, with Chicago just one game out. Russell Branyan is with Seattle now; ditto for Bengie Molina and Texas. We’ll see if any deals change the picture at all. Cincinnati is back on the rise, and Tampa Bay is sticking around in the race in baseball’s only (practically) three-team division. There has been plenty to look at in the past week and there will continue to be plenty to check out, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, July 5, before the day’s games.
New York is just holding off the Dodgers by half a game, and the Padres are still in firm command. At least Jason Bay is heating up for the Mets. With Adrian Gonzalez day-to-day, the Mets might be able to do something interesting if their pitching holds, but then again, the Padres have a good staff of their own. In the end, home-field advantage should hold the day.
Atlanta has the majors’ best home record (30-10), but Cincinnati has a winning road record (20-17). Cincinnati is just coming off a 14-3 annihilation of the Cubs at Wrigley, so we know they can get it done. Taking it to Atlanta with a non-stop barrage of offense is the way for the Reds to win, since the Braves have not always had a consistent pitching staff.
16-25 on the road? I think we can all agree the Yankees have bought their way one step closer to another title.
Boston couldn’t even sweep the Orioles (again), which doesn’t bode well. Boston’s best hope is to keep everyone injured and empty out Pawtucket, because it seems the more broken Boston gets, the better they get. I shudder to think of the collapse that will occur once Josh Beckett returns to screw up the rotation with his terribleness. Being 29-14 at home, the Rangers can just hold serve and force the Red Sox to pull out something amazing.