Friday, July 13, 2012

On to the second half of baseball season

Posted By on 07.13.12 at 10:48 AM

Adam Dunn and the White Sox trot smiling into the second half.
  • Paul Boucher
  • Adam Dunn and the White Sox trot smiling into the second half
The formal second half of the baseball season begins Friday, with our two teams in vastly different circumstances.

The White Sox are in first place in the American League Central, nine games above .500 after their recent hot streak, and three games ahead of the second-place Cleveland Indians.

But only three and a half ahead of more-threatening Detroit, which issued a challenge over the All-Star break from Miguel Cabrera.

The Cubs helped awaken the sleeping Tigers, and they've been hot too, but then again their ace Justin Verlander just got lit up as the AL starter in the All-Star Game, and that's not easily shaken off.

I still like my wager that Adam Dunn will hit more homers than the Tigers' Prince Fielder, as he's up at the break 25-15. But Dunn may also break his own team record for strikeouts—before August is over.

As for the Cubs . . .

They're still in a race for the worst record in baseball this season, although after their own little spurt leading into the break they're no longer the worst team in baseball. That would be the Houston Astros. The Cubs are tied for second-worst with the Colorado Rockies.

Still, the Cubs' next few weeks figure to be as exciting as the Sox', as the new Theo Epstein-Jed Hoyer brain trust scrambles to pack off as much of the salable remnants of the Jim Hendry administration as it can. What do they get in return? We'll have to see.

What do I predict? I'm on the record as saying the Sox will win their division—on Dog Night, September 26, not to put too fine a point on it. I also have the Cubs winning more games in the second half than the first, a bet I'll stick with, even with the belated start of the "formal" second half after the All-Star break.

For a moment, I thought about a new prediction that the Cubs would win more games than the Sox from here on out—and the Sox would still win their division. But that seems rash. I'll hold with my original bets.

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