John: Today we’re talking about the halfway point of the Major League Baseball season. We’ll be grading teams like the Chicago Cubs and White Sox.
Russell: I’m going to start with the White Sox. I didn’t expect them to do anything this year. I picked the Kansas City Royals in their division, and they’re not going anywhere so far. But they’ve still got plenty of time. In the American League West, I picked the Astros, and they are doing their jobs. So far, I think I picked that one right. In the East, well, I picked Boston, but it looks like it’ll be a battle between them and the Yankees. In the National League East, I picked the Washington Nationals, and they’re in first place, so I’m doing well so far. On a roll, here. In the National League West, I picked the Dodgers, and they are kicking some butt. They should be okay. I hope so. Colorado and Arizona? I don’t think they’re going to be there in the end. I know the Dodgers will be there. And the National League Central, my favorite division: I picked the Cubs. Right now, the Cubs are struggling to win the division, so it’s going to be tight. I think they’re going to pull it out in the end. I want to see a Cubs and Dodgers match-up.
John: I’m not a firm believer in the Washington Nationals. If the Cubs win their division, they’ll probably play them. I’ll be going with the Cubs. Don’t forget: the three teams in the NL West all deserve As because you’ve got the division winner ID-ing the two that are going to play each other in the wildcard. As far as grading the Cubs, I’d give them a D+; I thought they’d be a better ball club than they are right now. They are currently struggling with Milwaukee for the NL Central Division. We’ll see what happens in the second half, but the Cubs need help with their starting pitching. In the American League, the White Sox are doing better than I thought. They’re still in last place, but they’ll get more than 60 wins, which is what I predicted for them at the start of the year. I give the White Sox a C. They’re still in last place, but they can be a lot worse. Boston and the Yankees look like they’re going to fight it out in the AL East, and Houston is running away with the AL West. Another over-earning team is the LA Angels. Who would have ever thought that they’d be a couple of games above .500 at this time? They’re fighting for one of the wild cards in the American League, along with Tampa Bay, Minnesota. Even Kansas City is back in the hunt.
Russell: With the Cubs, I agree on a D. They should be in first place by now. They’re losing games this year that they weren’t losing last year. One-run games, giving up too many runs in the first inning, then they have to come back when they’re used to being ahead. Now, the White Sox—they’ve surprised me this year. I thought they’d be at least 20 games out by now, but at one point, they were right there. They are something like seven games out from first place right now. If they had kept Chris Sale, who knows? They could be contenders. It is what it is, so I’ll give them a C. They are doing better than I thought they would.