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Who is surprising in MLB division standings heading into the All-Star break

Near the unofficial midway point of the MLB season, here’s a look at where teams stand in their divisions with predictions on who will finish at the top.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The unofficial midway point of the MLB season is almost here with the All-Star Break taking place after the games end on Sunday, July 11th. With every team scheduled to play 162 games following a shortened 2020 season, it should be a fun stretch run as teams battle for a spot in the playoffs.

AL East

  1. Boston Red Sox (55-36) —
  2. Tampa Bay Rays (53-37) 1.5 GB
  3. New York Yankees (46-43) 8 GB
  4. Toronto Blue Jays (45-42) 8 GB
  5. Baltimore Orioles (28-61) 26 GB

Boston has been among the surprise teams in baseball this season as they are the favorites to win the American League East division at this point of the year. Not much was expected from the franchise during spring training as they came off a last-place finish last season. Now, they should be in contention for the playoffs, and the Rays are going to be their biggest challengers. Despite being a few games back, Tampa Bay is my pick to win the East in the end with a pitching staff that has allowed the second fewest runs in the American League.

AL Central

  1. Chicago White Sox (54-35) —
  2. Cleveland Indians (45-42) 8 GB
  3. Detroit Tigers (40-51) 15 GB
  4. Minnesota Twins (39-50) 15 GB
  5. Kansas City Royals (36-53) 18 GB

The White Sox entered as the favorites to win this division heading into the season, and they have done nothing to change that idea with a significant lead over the rest of the American League Central. Aside from an early-season feud between the players and manager Tony La Russa, Chicago is among the teams to beat in the American League. It would be quite the fall if the White Sox do not find themselves at the top of the division when the regular season ends.

AL West

  1. Houston Astros (55-36) —
  2. Oakland A’s (52-40) 3.5 GB
  3. Seattle Mariners (48-43) 7 GB
  4. Los Angeles Angels (45-44) 9 GB
  5. Texas Rangers (35-55) 19.5 GB

The Astros have quieted their critics somewhat with how they have performed this season. With the best record in the American League West, they have the pitching and offense to make a run at the World Series. The sign-stealing scandal conversation will likely return once the postseason gets started especially when the Astros head on the road. The Athletics will be Houston’s biggest challenger, but let’s go with the Astros to win a division title.

NL East

  1. New York Mets (47-40) —
  2. Philadelphia Phillies (44-44) 3.5 GB
  3. Atlanta Braves (44-45) 4 GB
  4. Washington Nationals (42-47) 6 GB
  5. Miami Marlins (39-50) 9 GB

If any of these five teams want to make the postseason, they will likely need to win their division because only the Mets are above .500 at this point of the year. With the quality of teams in the other two National League divisions, a wild card spot seems unlikely for any N.L. West team. Still, it should be a thrilling finish with every team outside of the Marlins having a legitimate shot to take the division. With three starters pitching at an elite level right now, the Mets are a good bet to win the East.

NL Central

  1. Milwaukee Brewers (53-39) —
  2. Cincinnati Reds (48-42) 4 GB
  3. Chicago Cubs (44-46) 8 GB
  4. St. Louis Cardinals (44-46) 8 GB
  5. Pittsburgh Pirates (34-56) 18 GB

This was a very competitive division up until just a few weeks ago with the Brewers and Cubs battling for the top. Since then, Milwaukee went on a run while Chicago collapsed. With a six-game lead over the rest of the division, losing this division would be a tough way to end the season for the Brewers, who have a very good pitching staff. With how good the teams are in the N.L. West, there could easily be just one team from the Central advancing to the postseason. Let’s bet on the Brewers.

NL West

  1. San Francisco Giants (57-32) —
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers (56-35) 2 GB
  3. San Diego Padres (53-40) 6 GB
  4. Colorado Rockies (40-51) 18 GB
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks (26-66) 32.5 GB

The National League West is turning into must-see television at the top of the division. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres developed a true rivalry earlier this season, and those matchups will add plenty of intrigue down the stretch. The San Francisco Giants hold the top spot in the division, but three of the best teams in the National League reside in the West division. It will likely come down to the final few days of the season, but let’s go with the Dodgers to win this highly competitive division.