MLB: Metro editors’ second half roundtable

The Red Sox reportedly tried to swing a deal for Cliff Lee last week.

Mike Greger
Metro Philadelphia
(revised predictions)
NL East: Braves
NL Central: Reds
NL West: Giants

Which team has been most disappointing in first 82 games?

Philadelphia. We knew they had holes in the lineup that were going to make winning 102 games again impossible. But they’d get by with their aces. Nope. The starters have been average, bullpen atrocious. The result is last place. No one, not even Nostradamus, saw this coming.

Which hitter will have the best second half?

We took Joey Votto in our preseason picks and he’s been solid. We’re going to stick with Votto (.348, 14 HRs, 48 RBIs) since we believe his power numbers will rise.

Which pitcher will have the best second half?

Cliff Lee. No, we’re not taking hallucinogens. The confident lefty has been the victim of some bad breaks and some mental anguish, but he is too good to be 1-5 at the break. Remember, Lee was 5-0 with a 0.45 ERA last August.

Which team is poised for a breakout second half and playoff run?

Atlanta. We were tempted to pick the Phillies, but they’ve shown us nothing. Frankly, we don’t trust those young Nationals to win the East. We’re banking on one last run from the Braves in what could be Chipper Jones’ farewell tour.

Mark Osborne

Metro New York
AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Rangers

Which team has been most disappointing in first 82 games?

Detroit. I’m still picking them to win a mediocre AL?Central, but it should not have been close. They’re just two games over .500 with Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera in the middle of their lineup and Justin Verlander as their ace. That doesn’t compute.

Which hitter will have the best second half?

Albert Pujols. He’s recovered — slowly — from a miserable start and that will continue. He’s up to 14 home runs and that .268 average will be up to .300 by September.

Which pitcher will have the best second half?

Felix Hernandez. The King has a freakish K-BB ratio of 128-to-35 and yet his ERA?is still 3.15. No, that’s not bad, but it will drop. Wins don’t mean anything, but he’ll stack up more than six in the second half and earn the AL Cy Young.

Which team is poised for a breakout second half and playoff run?

Tampa Bay. I already said the Tigers would, but the Rays will definitely be in the playoff hunt by year’s end. They are 7 1/2 back of the Yankees, and that will come down, but their better opportunity still will be to take one of the wild cards.

Matt Burke
Metro Boston
AL wild cards: Rays, White Sox
NL wild cards: Nationals, Dodgers

Which team has been most disappointing in first 82 games?

Boston. One would have thought a team with a top 5 MLB payroll ($146,371,619) that was coming off the worst collapse in baseball history would want to right a few wrongs. But Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz have been shockingly below-average in 2012.

Which hitter will have the best second half?

Miguel Cabrera. I’ll stick with Cabrera, who was overshadowed by Josh Hamilton and his unbelievable May.

Which pitcher will have the best second half?

Chris Sale. Call him the anti-Joba Chamberlain as the White Sox lefty has made the switch from reliever to starter without a hitch.

Which team is poised for a breakout second half and playoff run?

Detroit. The Tigers have just a 44-42 record but are only 1.5 games out of the AL wild-card standings. Expect their recent hot streak, an MLB-best five wins in a row before the break, to continue in the second half. Look for Alex Avilla and Jhonny Peralta to be better in the second half.

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