Yes, the 2007 baseball season has hit the All-Star break. I am a huge baseball fan but it's been harder to keep track of things this year - getting out and playing music means I don't see as many games and episodes of "Baseball Tonight." I also used to pore through the box scores from around both leagues but these days I usually just hit the White Sox, Cubs, and Red Sox lines. I still love the game, though, and watch when I can.
My White Sox have not had a very good year, though they've played much better as of late (especially if you take Friday's doubleheader loss against the Twins out of the equation - giving up 32 runs in a day? Come on!). However, they are still 8 games under . 500 (at 39-47) and 13 1/2 games out of first place in the division. The starting pitching hasn't been the problem for the most part - Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, and Javier Vazquez have all been pretty solid and even the rookie John Danks has held his own (Jose Contreras, what has happened to you?). The bullpen, on the other hand, has been awful outside of Bobby Jenks (our lone All-Star). The offense has been missing as well, with a horrible average and home run numbers that are far below the usual Sox output. Now it would have helped if everyone had been healthy and in the lineup - there have been very few times when the lineup has been Podsednik, Erstad, Thome, Konerko, Dye, Iguchi, Pierszynski, Crede, and Uribe. Heck, three of the guys are on the DL right now! The playoffs are probably out of the realm of the possible for this season but I'd like to see them get on a good run and at least get over .500 for the year. Not only did they go into the break winning 2 games in a row but they also resigned Buehrle to a 4 year contract extension; I can't believe they would have traded one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game, who is not only the heart of the club (along with Paul Konerko) but who threw a no-hitter earlier this year! Finally, something that went right.
The Cubs had some stretches of bad baseball as well, though they have played very well recently to pull themselves back over .500 (at 44-43). The starting pitching has been solid with surprising contributions from Rich Hill and Shawn Marshall. They had some bullpen problems but that seems to be under better control. After the big Carlos Zambrano/Michael Barrett dugout fight (with Barrett's subsequent trade), the team has come back to life. Getting Aramis Ramirez back of the DL has helped matters too, though the team still hasn't hit for a ton of power - Alfonso Soriano and Derek Lee have great averages but not a lot of homers (Lee especially). Luckily, they are in a division where everything is up for grabs and they are only 4 1/2 games behind the upstart Brewers. The North Side will be where the playoff race is in the second half of the season.
I enjoy the All-Star festivities. I plan on watching the Home Run Derby tonight and I will skip performing to watch the All-Star Game tomorrow night. Looking forward to both.