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Especially home/road dichotomy

It’s the last week of the first half of the Major League Baseball season before the All Star break, if that is what you wish to call it, but I will get into that in next week’s column.

We do have some good races heating up going into the dog days of summer, starting with the American League East. In the AL East we still have the mighty Yankees clinging to the lead with the Red Sox and the Rays right on their heels. All three teams have played the same in their last 10 games, but this is a big week for all three especially the three-game set with the Red Sox traveling to Tampa.

If the Rays can sweep or win two out of the three they will move back into second place. The Yankees head West and play a three game series with the A’s and they could possibly have a little jet lag; the A’s could pull a few games out in this series and that would really tighten things up in the AL East.

This week the advantage goes to the Rays as they get the Indians at home after the Red Sox, while the Red Sox will fly into Toronto and play a four game series with the Blue Jays. The Yankees will be in Seattle for four games so the Rays could be in first place once again by week’s end.

In the American League Central we have another three team dog fight between the Tigers, Twins and White Sox; none of the three has been on fire of late but the Tigers get the Orioles at home for thee games and the O’s are the worst road team in baseball. The Tigers then get a day off and get to host the Twins for a three game set, advantage Detroit.

The White Sox are home all week as they get to host the Angels for a four game set and that could get a little dicey. And then they finish the week playing the dangerous Royals. Detroit could have a two game advantage heading into the break.

In the AL West the Rangers are staying ahead of the Halos and they get to play the Tribe in Texas for a three game set and then finish off the week as they stay at home and get Baltimore for a four game set. The schedule really favors the Rangers, look for them to increase their advantage over the Angles who will be on the road.

Moving to the National League in the NL East the Braves who continue to play well keep their slim lead over the Mets who will try and stay ahead of the Phillies. This division could get real crazy this week as we have Atlanta traveling to Philly for three games and then the Braves finish up in New York to play the Mets for three games. The Mets get the hot Reds at home but they could be looking ahead to their big series against the Braves. The Phillies who lost two out of three to the Pirates finish off the week playing the Reds in a four game set. No advantage for any of the three in the NL East, this one will be very interesting but if one team can get hot they could really shake things up.

In the NL Central the Reds have a slim lead over the Cards after a hot week but they will have a real difficult time of it on the road all week playing good teams. The Cards head to Colorado for three games and then move on to Houston and finish off the week in another three game series, advantage Cardinals. Look for them to be in first place by week’s end.

The last place Pirates played well all week but this is one sad team for the city of Champions to field. They have great fans and a great ball park in a super city, can someone please help out. The “buccos” go on the road all week and with the second worst road record in baseball look for them to dig themselves deeper into the cellar.

In the NL West the Padres continue to win with good pitching and timely hitting as they stay three in front of the Mannyless Dodgers. San Diego hits the road as they fly into Washington for thee games and then head to Colorado for a key three game series with the third play Rockies. The Dodgers get to stay at home; they get the Marlins for three and then they get the really messed up Cubs for a four game series. Look for the Mannyless Dodgers to pick up some ground on the Padres as they get a big time scheduling advantage.

This past Saturday and every Saturday during the month of July is race comp Saturday at Palace Station and let me tell you the place was rocking and the comps were flying and two of those comps went flying right into my pocket, thanks to Steve the Supervisor who pulled my tickets two times; thanks, Steve and I will see you next Saturday as I look for that big Broiler comp.

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