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Now that the All-Star break is here, it’s time for teams to sit back and reflect on the first half, rest up and take stock of where they are. That’s especially important in the American League, where no division is led by more than 1.0 games. Save for the NL Central, NL leads are a bit more comfortable. With nearly half a season left, and with the teams bound to be well-rested after the All-Star break, anything could happen once the schedule resumes, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of the All-Star break:
Atlanta is actually 2.0 games better than San Francisco, but the Giants have the better pitching staff, both in terms of starters and the bullpen (see Brian Wilson’s beard). If Atlanta can’t keep pace and can’t have the bats swinging like they mean it, the San Fran will move on pretty easily.
Even when Boston gets terrible pitching, its offense always has a good chance to bail it out. Detroit has to spend everything it has just in battling with Cleveland for a playoff spot. As long as Boston’s rotation is healthy come playoff time, they shouldn’t have a problem with Detroit.
Texas has won seven games in a row to surge back into the division lead, while the Yankees haven’t always been the juggernaut lately that we all expect them to be. If New York’s pitching is healthy, they’ll have a good chance with their offense going, but if not, Texas could pick off a game that New York needed, and ride that to the next round.