MLB Second Half Storylines (Part 3) | By Andrew Booth

Earlier this week The Wanderer Online writers Emerson Csorba and Bennett Csorba gave ten thoughts each on the second half of the baseball season. Wanderer Sports Editor Andrew Booth rounds it off with ten of his own.

The Blue Jays will miss the playoffs
Bold, right?  The Blue Jays came into the season with loads of optimism, but a decimated pitching staff has caused them to slip into a tie for last place in the AL East with the Boston Red Sox.  Even with Jose Bautista, Brett Lawrie and Edwin Encarnacion playing great baseball the Jays are going to fall short of the second wildcard spot, but at least they’ll look great doing it in the baby-blue they never should have abandoned.

Robinson Cano leads the majors in home runs following all-star weekend
Robinson Cano was the captain of AL Home Run Derby team, and after not selecting hometown hero Billy Butler to his team was jeered relentlessly by the Kansas City faithful.  Every time his name was said on the PA, boos.  Every time he popped up, cheers.  The time has come for some serious Robinson Cano “eff you” mode, and I can’t wait to watch.

Justin Verlander stops caring about baseball
Oh wait, this already happened.  Verlander was seen canoodling with notoriously beautiful supermodel Kate Upton.  After winning the AL Cy Young, MVP and pitching Triple Crown last year he’s running out of things to accomplish.  Granted he has yet to win the World Series, but with Kate freaking Upton on his arm it’s really hard to feel bad for the guy, even if he has to live in Detroit.

Somebody loses a Vander Meer in the 6th inning or later
There will be another no-hitter this season, but let’s go further.  In order to achieve true baseball immortality these days you need to do something unheard of.  Pitching back to back no-hitters is one of the most impressive feats in all sports (falling second to dating Kate Upton, which Verlander already accomplished), and on a balmy summer night somewhere across America destiny will be waiting there, ready to be taken home.  But destiny is a heartless mistress, and someone’s bid for deification will fall painfully short.

Cole Hamels makes the playoffs, the Phillies do not
Hamels is at the end of his contract and by all indications wants to see what his market value is before signing an extension, even if Philadelphia is high on his list.  If I’m the Phillies I would call it a lost season, unload Hamels to boost the farm team, and then try to sign him as a free agent.  And if you’re the GM of a team on the cusp and you hear that Cole Hamels is available, you’re at least picking up the phone and having a talk about it, aren’t you?

Bobby Valentine will not be fired (no matter how hard he tries)
Bobby Valentine is my favorite person right now.  Nothing completes a summer quite like Red Sox nation in total panic, and Bobby V has been stirring the pot since day one.  Is anybody really surprised that Kevin Youkilis turned it around with the White Sox after Valentine threw him under the bus?  Explain the thought process to me.  Yeah, okay.  I’m going to call out one of the most well-respected leaders in my clubhouse.  He has no heart, yeah, perfect. Bobby you’re a genius!  The only rational explanation for Valentine’s managerial decisions would be that he’s been planted by the Yankees.  Either way, keep doing your thing Bobby, and godspeed.

A “vindicated” Ryan Braun wins the NL MVP
Earlier this month Ryan Braun said he felt vindicated by this season’s numbers.  Should he?  Well first off, I’m not going to tell a man what he can or can’t feel vindicated about.  And his power numbers are up from last year.  My biggest hope is that by the end of the year he is the hands-down MVP, so all the pious baseball writers have no choice but to vote him MVP.  And then, at his press conference, I hope he shows up and says:  “You mad bro?  Okay, have some.”  And then tosses some money into the rows of reporters and swaggers off the stage.  A man can dream.

Texas comes up short, again
The time for Texas is now.  They were the best team last year, they’re the best team this year; they’re the Vancouver Canucks of baseball.  They’ll storm to an AL West victory and then run into a plucky Rays team, who could have beaten them last year but were too emotionally drained from their quest for the Wildcard.  But take heart Texas fans, another Rangers collapse means more Nolan Ryan face, which is a victory for all.

Tim Lincecum salvages his season, helps the Giants to the World Series
Look at these two statlines for a second:
Tim Lincecum — 3-10, 6.42 ERA, 1.583 WHIP
AJ Burnett — 10-2, 3.68 ERA, 1.301 WHIP
I mean, what?  How does this happen?  Lincecum probably hasn’t been this bummed since Prop 19 failed.   I’m giving Lincecum four starts; if he doesn’t get it by then, well, as Dirk says…  But great players can bust out of slumps (cut to Angels fans nodding in relief), so I’m rolling with the Freak, and the San Francisco Giants.

Joe Maddon carries the Rays to a World Series victory
He did it again.  Joe Maddon, for my money the best manager in all sports, once again has the Tampa Bay Rays storming towards the playoffs.  Only this year he’s done it without Evan Longoria.  Take Andrew McCutchen off the Pirates, Joey Votto off the Reds, David Wright off the Mets; these teams would be floundering.  But Maddon pulls it off with flair unknown for baseball managers.  Give me the Tampa Bay Rays winning 4-2 over the San Francisco Giants.

Andrew Booth is a fourth year junior that owns an 85% winning percentage in Freecell solitaire, wants to sail the Pacific and writes sports. He has also been known to be an insufferable Canucks fan.

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