It's a little sad that coming up on the All-Star Break, there is only one tight playoff race in the National League and two in the American League. In the NL, the Pirates lead the Cardinals by a game in the NL Central. St Louis has a comfortable 2.5 game lead on the Reds for the first wild card spot, while the Natonals trail Cincinnati for the second spot by five games...or just as many games as they trail the Braves for the NL East lead. In the awful West, the Diamondbacks have a 4.5 game lead on the Rockies and Dodgers, both of whom are under .500. Over in the AL, the Red Sox have opened up a five game lead on the Yankees in the AL East, while the Indians have fallen 3.5 back of the Tigers in the Central (a number growing by the days). The two tight races are in the AL West, where the A's are currently half a game up on the Rangers, and the AL Wild Card race, where the Rays and Orioles are both just half a game behind the Yankees for the second slot. Out of everything that we look towards in the second half, I'm almost more excited to see if the Blue Jays and Angels can make runs at the playoffs after their recent hot stretches.
PIC OF THE DAY
Nick Swisher had a bad time after getting plunked. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Game of the Night: Angels 9, Red Sox 7 (11 innings). Boston led this one 7-3 going into the ninth, and Alex Wilson came on to mop the game up. Except...it didn't happen that way. Wilson sandwiched the first two outs of the inning around a Chris Iannetta single and then ran into trouble, giving up a single to JB Shuck and plunking Mike Trout. With two outs and the tying run at the plate, closer Koji Uehara came on to clean up Wilson's mess...and couldn't. Uehara allowed a two-run single to Albert Pujols to make it a 7-5 game, and a Josh Hamilton RBI single made it 7-6. With the tying run 90 feet away, Howard Kendrick grounded to Brandon Snyder to end the game...except no one told Snyder, who lobbed the ball over Dustin Pedroia's head at second, allowing pinch runner Collin Cowgill to score and tie the game. Mark Trumbo followed with a strikeout, and we went to extras. In the bottom of the 11th with Craig Breslow on the hill, Brad Hawpe singled with one out to bring up Hamilton, who smashed a ball into the right field seats for the walkoff winner.