Updated July 5
We're more than halfway through the regular season, which is both way cool (the playoffs are only a few short months away) and calamitously superawful (there is more regular-season baseball behind us than ahead). Either way, we've got enough information at this point to draw at least a few bigger-picture conclusions.
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We know that the pitching has been good and that the hitting has been bad. We know that there are three grade-A teams (the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies), each with significant weaknesses (respectively, a weak-on-paper rotation, a thinning-by-the-day rotation and a strangely placid offense). We know that five other teams (the Braves, Rays, Giants, Rangers and Cardinals) are just the proverbial "one player away" and that a bunch more (the Diamondbacks, Rockies, Angels, Mariners and hell, pretty much any of the top four teams in either Central division) could, with some help and some luck, slink into the postseason.
In short, we don't know the first thing about anything -- except that as of end of play on Monday night, 17 teams were within four games of first place in their division. Let's give our thanks, then, to a regular season that rewards patience and endurance, as well as to Chris Johnson and the Orioles for sucking as fiercely and reliably as expected. In an era where anything can happen, living down to expectations is brave indeed.