Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Five Predictions For MLB’s Second Half

By Adam Russell

If you recall a column I wrote around this time last year, you might remember Casey Stengel visiting me in a dream with five predictions for the second half of the 2012 baseball season. Ol' Case actually did pretty well.

Some of the details were a little off, but three of the five predictions actually happened, which gave him a .600 average — Hall of Fame numbers. To recap the prognostications he got right, he said the Dodgers would miss the playoffs, two AL East teams would finish below .500 and that Jim Thome would retire. The two that he missed were no more no-hitters after the Matt Cain perfect game (there were two more, including a second perfecto), and Texas winning the World Series (they were knocked out of the playoffs in the wild card round).

Well, Casey opted not to visit me again this year, but after receiving such spot-on wisdom from the genius, I figured I could come up with some predictions of my own. So, without delay, here are my five predictions for the second half of the Major League Baseball season.

1) Homer Bailey will not throw another no-hitter this year. Okay, so this one may be an easy one, but when one takes into account that he threw the last no-no of 2012 and the first one this year on Tuesday, it seems like he's on a roll and could toss another one. I say, "Nay." In fact, at this juncture of the season, there might be only one or two more no-hitters thrown, but Bailey won't be among those to do it.

2) No Triple Crown repeat for Miguel Cabrera. This one I'm a little nervous about since Cabrera currently leads the American League in hitting and RBI, and is only five behind Baltimore's Chris Davis in home runs. However, here's the kicker: Davis is currently second in the league in hitting and RBI and could easily overtake Cabrera in both — well, not quite easily in batting average since he's nearly 40 points behind. But if Miggy hits a bad slump, Davis could become the Triple Crown winner this year. How cool would that be?

3) Pittsburgh will miss the postseason — again. Last year at this time, the Pirates were only a game out of first place in the NL Central and looked poised to cinch a wild card spot if they could keep up the good play. But not even an MVP performance from Andrew McCutchen could keep them afloat. Pittsburgh has a miserable reputation for starting fast and finishing slow, and this year won't be any different despite having the best record in baseball currently.

4) Clayton Kershaw will lead the bigs in ERA and innings pitched, but will have a losing record. All right, this one might be a no-brainer as well as Kershaw already has the lowest ERA of all MLB hurlers and has thrown more innings than anyone else, but his record is a meager 7-5. With the Dodgers having a lack of offensive firepower despite having an all-star lineup, Kershaw will continue to pitch gobs of innings without giving up many runs, but still lose games because his team can't score.

5) The Giants will make the postseason, despite being in the NL West basement today. This final prediction might be a bold one, but the defending World Series champions are only three games out of first place in the weak NL West and could easily get hot down the stretch and win the division. Odds are they won't get past the wild card round in the playoffs since they've been struggling mightily all year, but they still have a legitimate shot at taking the division and playing in October.

Well, there you have it. If I can do as good as Casey Stengel's ghost did last year, I'll feel pretty good about my baseball IQ. If I don't, I might have to hold a séance next year to get some better predictions.

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