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Sport'It's kind of wild': As 10 NL teams hover near .500, the second half could get interesting

18:55  12 july  2019
18:55  12 july  2019 Source:

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The wild card races are fun and all, but it ' s gonna be incredibly disappointing if we get five runaway Over in the NL East, what a remarkable turn-around by the Nationals. Once down 10 games, they The A's get the White Sox and Mariners at home to open the second half before a really tough spot

It could be moving time for the talented Nats. Which, given how many teams are at least within striking distance of a Wild Card slot, makes some of those decisions difficult ones. Look for D.J. LeMahieu, Matt Chapman, Alex Bregman and Jorge Polanco all to get that kind of heat. The NL is lacking in true surprise teams this year so figure Dave Roberts of the Dodgers to be the front runner.

'It's kind of wild': As 10 NL teams hover near .500, the second half could get interesting © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

The second half of the National League schedule starts Friday afternoon, and two-third of the teams in the Senior Circuit are in a similar boat. The boat isn’t exactly an old dinghy, but it ain’t a luxury yacht, either.

Ten of the 15 clubs are within five games (plus or minus) of the .500 mark. With the July 31 trade deadline just a few weeks away — there is no non-waiver deadline this year, remember, so all trades have to be made by July 31 — there are a lot of teams that have to decide whether they’re going to make a playoff push in 2019 or deal assets to build toward the future.

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"You can slow it way down knowing that we're only a few games back," Cardinals infielder Paul deJong said. The Cubs had to settle for a wild card berth. The four teams running behind Chicago are as close to the division lead as they are to the second wild card, leaving all five clubs potentially vying

The second half begins in earnest on Friday for the rest of the teams . The first part of the season saw plenty of surprises in terms of individual performances 1. A wild , urgent trade deadline: This is a big one. Recent seasons saw teams increasingly rely on August waiver deals to bolster their rosters

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Here at those 10 teams — all five NL Central squads are in there — and their relationship to .500:

— Nationals: 5 over

— Phillies: 4 over

— Cubs: 4 over

— Brewers: 3 over

— Diamondbacks: 1 over

— Padres: Even

— Cardinals: Even

— Rockies: 1 under

— Pirates: 1 under

— Reds: 5 under

The other five squads, in case you’re curious: Dodgers (28 over), Braves (17 over), Giants (7 under), Mets (10 under), Marlins (22 under). So what does that logjam mean? I posed that question to a few players in that situation at All-Star media day.

Rockies outfielder David Dahl: “It means there are some good teams competing for wild card spots, even though teams haven’t even played their best ball yet. That’s what it shows.”

Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff: “It shows that a lot of the teams are balanced. You look at our division and the last place team is four and a half games out, and we’re at the break. It shows that a lot of the teams in our division are competitive, which makes it more fun because you come into each series and each game and there’s not one time when you think you’re going to blow those guys out. It makes the games more fun.”

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The problem with the Penguins’ second half schedule is they only have four head-to-head games remaining with teams they are chasing (three against Columbus, one against Washington). They also have one game against Montreal (the team ahead of them in the first wild card spot, which would put.

Depending on the timing of the moves, it ’ s possible teams could find themselves adding talent and Cleveland might be the most intriguing team on this list, as the Indians currently sit in the second AL They’re only two games out of a Wild Card spot despite being 14 games behind the Dodgers in the The annual “Will Mike Trout finally get back to the postseason?” narrative will continue to hover over

Padres closer Kirby Yates: “The National League’s pretty competitive, especially in our division, the NL West. There’s a lot of good teams. You’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game every time you go play somewhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re in division or out of division, you’ve still got ballgames you want to win, and that’s never easy.”

Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong: “It’s kind of wild. I chalk it up to even talent, even scheduling, whatever you want to call it. All these factors somehow seem to have lined up. I know that the division is right there for us to take, despite everything that has happened, we’re still right there, and that kind of gives us confidence.”

And that “despite everything that’s happened” observation by DeJong is maybe the only thing all 10 of those teams have in common. Some are disappointed to be hovering around .500 at this point in the season — hi, Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers and Rockies — and for others, being near that mark represents a welcome improvement over recent years — talking about you, Padres and Reds.

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It ’ s when the number gap gets even wider that something less healthy is going on—something that doesn’t reflect very well on either party. Another interesting litmus test is what I call the “mood determiner test.” This comes into play when two friends get together but they’re in very different

For these teams , it ’ s imperative to get off to a strong start after the All-Star Break to keep their playoff hopes alive. Considering this, here are three teams that could make a second - half At the moment, they sit at third place in the AL East and are only two games back from the second Wild Card spot.

“I mean, I think we’re happy,” Yates said. “We’ve been on the other end of the spectrum, where we’re 15 games below .500 at the break. I don’t think we take this for granted, being .500 at the break. You always want to be in first place and you always want to be 20 games over .500, but sometimes that’s not reality. We’ve played really good, and we’ve had our moments where we’ve run into rough patches, but when we play well we feel we can beat any team.”

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Some of these teams started hot and then stumbled for weeks, such as DeJong’s Cardinals, Woodruff’s Brewers and Kris Bryant’s Cubs.

“We’d certainly like to separate ourselves and pull ahead ... but we just haven’t been able to do that,” Bryant said. “I think it’s the toughest division in baseball, in my opinion, obviously because we’re the closest. It’s going to be a fun second half because anybody can take it. It’s up for grabs. Hopefully it’s us.”

Some of these teams opened the season slowly and spent the next couple of months playing catch-up, such as the Nationals and Dahl’s Rockies.

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It was not practical for timekeepers to consider minutes until the first mechanical clocks that displayed minutes appeared near the end of the 16th century. It had a pendulum length of just under a meter which gave it a swing of one second , and an escapement that ticked every second .

It ’ s interesting to know what the dreams of people who already have all this are. Celebrities, as we know, never hide their unusual hobbies A team in Cambridge is working on specific bio batteries that can generate power inside the body, transfer it wirelessly where needed, and then simply melt away.

“We started out really terrible, then we went on a good run and then we kind of ended it not how we wanted, so this break’s going to help us kind of regroup and get it going,” Dahl said. “We’re confident in what we can do. We definitely have a great lineup, and the pitching staff’s going to come around, the bullpen will get it together.”

No matter how they got to this point, all 10 of those teams are within shouting distance of the primary goal for any club, which is getting to October. Or, at least, playing important games in September with a chance to reach October. All 10 of those squads start the second half within 4.5 games of a wild card spot.

And that's important because here's the truth: At least three of those 10 middling-through-the-first-half teams will wind up with playoff spots. Assuming — for argument’s sake, because anything can happen — the Dodgers and Braves claim the West and East titles, that leaves three spots — the Central crown and both wild card berths — very much up for grabs.

“Despite what’s happened,” DeJong repeated slowly, with a grin. “If that doesn’t give you a clean slate, I don’t know what does. For us, it’s going to be about taking this break, wiping it clean and coming out ready to play.”

Nine other teams know exactly what he’s talking about.

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