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The All Star break is here, and a shortened week lies ahead. Texas acquired Cliff Lee to protect their lead, but STILL got SWEPT by the Orioles. At home. Even with Lee, that will kill their credibility. The first, second, and (tied for) fourth best team in the majors are all in the same division (one guess which one). The Twins have sunk all the way to third in their division, and the Phillies are still there. The other Sox are still leading that one after winning eight straight. Aside from the Rangers, the Reds have lost their last four but still hold onto the division lead. Leads are getting questioned all the time, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, July 12:
Right now, the Dodgers would have to host a playoff game with the Rockies for that last spot, while the Braves are still enjoying a four-game lead over the Mets. John Ely has had a horrendous fantasy week, so despite Vicente Padilla, the Dodgers could still have problems. With that extra game wearing them down, then having to fly to the East Coast (losing three hours in the process), the Dodgers are at a severe disadvantage.
The Padres interrupted Colorado’s six-game win streak, while the Reds have lost four in a row. Superior pitching and Adrian Gonzalez will easily carry the day, just as they’ve kept the Padres ahead in the only division with four teams within four games of the lead.
The Yankees have three pitchers with at least 11 wins. Yet, they still have the luxury of acquiring Cliff Lee, who they’ll probably acquire during free agency anyway. Add to that all the bats, and Chicago’s eight-game winning streak won’t do much of anything.
Even Cliff Lee failed against the Orioles. Against a good team, the Rangers have no shot.