Another National disaster vs AL

Jul 15, 2008 6:57 PM

Between the Lines by Kevin Stott |As we hit the All-Star break, some of the numbers in the standings seem impossible. Heading into last Tuesday, the NL West had all five teams under .500 while only four teams in the entire AL were below that mark.

How did the Senior Circuit have 10 of its 14 teams with break-even or winning records? By feasting on AL bottom-feeders like Seattle (37-58) or Cleveland (41-53)?

Nope. The buffet came in interleague play where the AL showed the NL whats up, to a plus 47 reality (149-102), its second-best showing ever against the Junior Circuit (154-98, 2006), The made-up Yanks-Pirates game in Pittsburgh ended interleague play.

And one division hip to the yin-yang of it all on July 8 was the AL Central which had teams +14 (Chi), +11 (Min), Even (Det, 44-44), -10 (KC) and -14 (Cle) for a grand total of +1 after 443 total games at that point. Thats some real yin-to-the-mother-trucking-yang brother.

Enough numerology Pythagoras. Lets look at Tuesdays Midsummer Classic and the first series after the break. And please, have your pets spayed or neutered.

ALL-STAR GAME

NL at AL (-143, 10, Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook) (FOX, 8 ET/ 5 PT): On paper, the NL looks very appealing, with its solid-gold infield (Jones-Ramirez-Utley-Berkman) and killer starting pitchers (Zambrano-Sheets-Lincecum-Volquez). Starting catcher Geovany Soto of the Cubs their best backstop since Gabby Hartnett was a choice that shows how smart MLB fans really are. And the NLs bench is awesome with guys like Gonzalez (SD), Uggla (Fla), Martin (LA), Tejada (Hou), Pujols (StL) and Holliday (Col) who will replace the Cubs Alfonso Soriano as a starter in the outfield able to come in and provide the timely hit if needed.

The AL seemingly has everything going its way though. The pride culled from recent success (10-0-1 L11 Thanks for the tie, Bud), the homefield advantage with a pinch of sentimentality thrown in with the game being played at Yankee Stadium in its final season. The game actually means something now, with that reward being homefield advantage for the winning league in the World Series.

This expectation combined with the confidence of the ALs recent spanking of the NL in the interleague matchups and a big hit by Ichiro, Manny or A-Rod and I see a narrow win again for you know who AMERICAN LEAGUE.

P.S.: Has anyone noticed the NL has snagged three of the ALs best pitchers (Santana, Sabathia and Harden) in the last six months?

Started Thursday, July 17

Padres at Cardinals (Thu-Sun): St. Louis took two of three at San Diego in May, outscoring the Pads, 20-8. In a pennant race, the Cards need to shoot for sweeps against lesser teams like this. CARDS.

Nationals at Braves (Fri-Sun): We all know that Atlanta is good at home (30-18) and bad on the road (13-31), and this series should hold to form. The Braves are 3-5 vs. Washington, but six of the eight were played in D.C. So, in Hotlanta, vs the worst team (36-59) in MLB, Atlanta has edge. BRAVES.

ALSO: ROCKIES over the Pirates, ANGELS over Red Sox, TIGERS over Os on SUNDAY (Orioles have lost 14 Sundays in a row),CHEESEBURGERS over Not Cheeseburgers, PAULIE WALNUTS over Paulie Shore and BLACKBERRY JELLY over Grape.