Top 10 questions for the second half
By Guy Curtwright
Cox News Service
1. Can the Tigers keep this up?
Probably not a .670 winning percentage, but Detroit has the pitching to stay in the American League Central race with the White Sox. Jim Leyland won't let his team be satisfied with their success so far.
2. Will Ozzie Guillen say something controversial again?
Certainly. The White Sox, though, seem to feed off their fiery manager and have more talent than last year's world championship team.
3. Is the National League as bad as it has looked?
The AL rules. Whichever team reaches the World Series will be favored to stretch the AL's run to seven championships in nine years.
4. Is the Braves' steak of consecutive division titles over at 14?
The Mets, despite the need for another quality starting pitcher, can't blow a lead this big. But the Braves could make a run at the wild card.
5. Will Barry Bonds be traded?
Not likely, especially with San Francisco a contender in the so-so NL West. But if Bonds plays next year, it needs to be as a DH in the AL.
6. Who will be the big name dealt?
The Mets covet pitcher Dontrelle Willis, but Florida likely will hold on to him. New York might have to settle for Livan Hernandez.
7. Will a top player be suspended, like Rafael Palmeiro last year?
Only if the player is very stupid. Everyone knows what drugs baseball tests for, and that growth hormone can't be detected by testing.
8. Will anyone hit 60 homers?
Albert Pujols of St. Louis could, despite missing more than two weeks. Also, don't count out Jim Thome, David Ortiz or Ryan Howard.
9. Will the ban on amphetamines impact play in the second half?
It's a very long season, and the ban could favor younger teams down the stretch.
10. What does nearly $200 million buy these days?
Not a playoff berth, so the Yankees will have to spend even more if they are to beat out Boston. GM Brian Cashman needs to be active at the trade deadline or get ready for George Steinbrenner's wrath.