As the second half of the season is set to begin, pitching is, as always, the key to success down the stretch.
First, and in consideration of rumor number one, which may just be speculation and defective, stupid controversy created by certain second-line radio commentators, is the ridiculous theory that the Dodger would even consider trading Clayton Kershaw and/or Matt Kemp, in order to obtain Roy Halladay. Kershaw and Kemp are rare talents that come along infrequently. At the start of the year, I felt that Kemp would put it together this season, and become a star, and that is happening before our eyes. He deserved to be on the All-Star team. Kershaw has more ability than any pitcher to reach the majors in many years, but I did feel it would be at least until next season before he took his place as a number one starter, and Cy Young contender. Well, he has just about reached that level over the past six weeks, with only his penchant for making too many pitches and being able to only go an average of six innings per start keeping him from reaching that level. The fact is, though, that he has been scored on in only two of his last six starts, giving up a total of three runs in his last 36 or so innings, lowering his ERA from 4.50 to 3.16.
He is on the verge of becoming the ace the Dodgers have been seeking, and only more experience and more consistent control stand in his way.
Trade him or Kemp? Never, for any current player in the majors, save that Albert guy in St. Louis.
Second is that other rumor that indicated that Toronto would commit franchise suicide by trading Halladay to the Redsox or scumstripes. Trade the AL’s reigning pitching star within your division, to one of the best teams in the league, whose only weaknesses relate to pitching? No way. If so, though, fire the GM and pack the trunk and move to Moose Jaw.
Toronto does not realize their situation. Their limited success this season is due to Halladay, their vastly improved offense, which is due to the maturation of several of their young players, and the development of several young pitchers, such as Ricky Romero. Add back injured young stud starters Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum, and the 2010 Blue Jays are a real contender. Don’t screw that up and hand the division to one of those other teams.
The seemingly healthier Angels’ staff now has to not only compensate for the loss of Vald and Torri Hunter, but for the continued struggles of Earvin Santana. He starts opening night of the second half, and has to show that he is regaining last year’s form, or else he might need a Howie Kendrick Triple A vacation.
Overall, at the mid-point, four of my six division picks are in first place, and all of my picks except Cleveland are in the running for the playoffs. And, Torri Hunter is the AL’s MVP at this point in the season.