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A Few Thoughts As Baseball Heads Into The Final Week Before The All Star Game- Bruce’s Thought Of The day

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Mariano Rivera blew a save? That’s headline news frankly as it never or seems to never happen. Adam Jones cracks a 2 run homer as the Orioles beat the Yanks and salvage the finale of the 3 game series. Still a solid week for the Yanks as they won 6 straight before Sunday’s shocking loss.

A deal the Yanks should explore. Package Either Ivan Nova or Phil Hughes with Joba Chamberlain for a infielder or a solid prospect. My thoughts are the Atlanta Braves need a starter. Their lead in the NL east has been shaved to 4 games over Washington. The Braves have a recent history of choking late in the year. They did it 2 years ago in epic, historical fashion, and last year in a 1 game playoff to St Louis. Atlanta is desperate to shake that tag and would probably give up a top prospect to avoid that disaster again. My preference would be to trade Hughes. Atlanta has expressed interest in Chamberlain. Hughes is a free agent after this season. The Yanks should pursue this scenario.

The Mets are trying to get Ike Davis back to major league standards. He did have 3 hits in Fridays win over Milwaukee. Josh satin is a nice story. Long time minor league player with a few cups of coffee in the show. He has done a nice job, hitting around .380. But let’s face it Met fans, the team needs Ike Davis, for his power and his glove. As the Mets are going nowhere they need to try and stick with Davis, unless he reverts back to his early season awful-ness.

As for the divisions. I predicted the AL east would be the toughest and most balanced division. That has proven true. Toronto, after a brutal start to the year has played better but their deficit is too much with 4 teams to hop over. The Red Sox need a reliable closer. BAD. I still like the Orioles.

Detroit like Boston needs a closer. BAD. if I were the Mets I would dangle Bobby Parnell and see if the Sox or Tiges bite. Cleveland was my pick and I will stick with that. They also have closer issues but like Detroit a solid lineup.

I picked the Angels again this year. I won’t repeat this mistake again next season. Kudos to both Ron Washington and Bob Melvin. Both have their teams, despite young pitching, on top of the AL west. Minus slugger Ron Washington the Rangers have been able to score in bunches. Oakland does it mainly with pitching. I will take Oakland down the stretch.

Here comes the Nationals. They seem to have shaken off their 1st half blues. Seems the Nats were living on last year’s accomplishments. Of course beating up on the Brewers and Padres helps. In my view Washington is a better club than Atlanta and will overtake the Braves.

The NL central proves everything is cyclical. For a decent stretch this division was a joke. Now The Cardinals, Reds, and yes the Pittsburgh Pirates are all 50+ win teams heading into the last week before the all star game. Can the Pirates avoid their fate of the past 2 seasons, that being to flat line the 2nd half of the year. I picked Cincinnati before the year and will stick with that selection. By the way Pittsburgh hasn’t finished 500 for 20 straight years. That’s TWENTY STRAIGHT YEARS.

Finally in the NL west, which like the AL east is well balanced, just not of the same quality. The defending champion Giants are scuffling. Their starting pitching is scuffling. I expect the Giants to be aggressive again and make a deal or 3. The Diamondbacks are playing the best right now but host the Dodgers starting tonight. A rematch of the brawl series just a few weeks back in LA. If Arizona had any consistency in their bullpen they would be 8 games in front. However the trio of Heath Bell, JJ Putz, and David Hernandez have struggled. AZ has some top flight starting pitching. Kirk Gibson will have to patch together the pen to hold off LA and San Fran. Speaking of those Dodgers. Led by the phenom, Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers have come back from the dead. My big question is does this team have the toughness to go the distance. I doubt it. They struggle on the road but perhaps winning the series in San Francisco will spur them on. I had Arizona at the start and will stay with the D-Backs.

1 thing is for sure. While some pundits will typically whine about the game, as usual we are headed for a drama filled 2nd half. All 6 divisions are battles and with the added wild card I also expect teams to try and pick goodies from the few that are out of it. I love the 2nd half of a baseball season. Everyday and night games with huge implications dot the map. This year is no different!

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