With the All-Star Game safely in the rearview, it's time to look ahead to the remainder of the 2013 season. And since I'm a glutton for punishment, let us look back at my preseason predictions and then make some more sure-to-be-wrong predictions.
My preseason World Series prediction was the Nationals over Tigers. I'll stick with the Tigers as the AL representative in the World Series because I love how their rotation and power stack up in October. The Nationals, however, just seem like they don't have "it" this season. Obviously things could change and lining up Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez in October would be conducive to a deep postseason run.
The problem is you can't make a deep postseason run if you don't qualify, and right now it appears the Braves are primed to win the NL East with the Cardinals, Reds and Pirates -- whichever two don't win the NL Central -- all superior to the Nationals in the wild-card race. So I need a new pick to come out of the NL.
And it's the Cincinnati Reds.
A strong argument could be made that the Reds haven't played close to their capability in the first half, yet here they are, 53-42 with a plus-63 run differential. They get on base, hit for power, play solid defense, have a strong rotation, have good pitching depth and a potentially great back end of the bullpen.
Things are going to click in September and then again in October for the Reds, and they're going to win their first World Series championship since the days of Barry Larkin, Chris Sabo, Eric Davis, Tom Browning and the Nasty Boys.
In the comments below this week, we're gonna go with a second-half prediction for each team. It might be serious, it might be tongue-in-cheek. Just remember to get angry, because what I say is the absolute law and definitely impacts the on-field performance.
Please feel free to contact me with comments either on Twitter (@MattSnyder27) or via email: email@example.com. These were posted during the All-Star break. Any action coming after posting wasn't included here -- a fact that seems to escape many people later in the week.