MLB second-half preview: Dingers, Twinsies and no-nos!
After MLB’s homer-happy first half, brought to you in part by Baltimore’s historically bad pitching, we asked our O’s oracle to deliver nine foolproof predictions for the stretch run.
The Astros will win it all. The Los Angeles Cody Bellingers have been freakishly good, and the Second-String Yankees are better than almost every other starting nine. None of that matters because Houston has Mr. October. I wouldn’t be surprised to see George Springer start Game 3.
Justin Verlander will throw his third career no-hitter-this one against the Tigers. His former team will wish it had never traded him. Or that it had gotten 26 prospects in return instead of three.
The Orioles will cement their status as the worst team ever. With a run differential of minus-178 through 81 games, they are on pace to break the record (-349) set by the 1932 Red Sox. The good news: Boston won it all just 72 years later!
Have the Twins peaked?
Minnesota will eke out the AL Central- a hot take, given that Cleveland has awoken from its annual spring slumber. But the Twins have built enough of a cushion (made of 40 percent microfiber, 30 percent polyester and 30 percent home runs) to survive.
Best Supporting Slugger
Christian Yelich will hit 40 homers … at home. He’s so dangerous at Miller Park that he will inspire a Hollywood biopic — and SNL’s Pete Davidson will be cast as the reigning MVP. (As for the baseball, the orb that played Wilson in Cast Away has the inside track — if it slims down for the role. And gets a seam job.)
The Marlins will draw 2 million fans-on the road. Is it rubbernecking? Schadenfreude? Or that Miami plays in a division with four teams whose fans actually care? Regardless, the Fish — flirting with the record for worst home attendance — average 30,000 per road game.
Madison Bumgarner will get traded to the Yankees, whose injury-plagued rotation has been more like a no-tation and needs the postseason legend. But MadBum would have to shave. So maybe they snag clean shaven Marcus Stroman instead. Or double down and get Marcuson Strogarner.
Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi will become the first teammates to hit for the cycle in the same game. Used to be, speedsters who hit triples (like the Royals duo) didn’t have the muscle to go deep. But these days, anyone can hit homers. Especially against the Orioles!
Hyun-Jin Ryu won’t lead the majors in ERA. Sure, the Dodgers southpaw has been filthy so far, but the historically fragile hurler could get hurt celebrating a win against the Orioles, or — more likely — somebody else will be stingier in the second half. Our bet? Mr. Marcuson Strogarner.