Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Curious about how the rest of the MLB season will play out?
I thought you might be. Step into my office.
Here are 15 bold (and when I say bold, I mean bold with a capital B) predictions for the second half.
1. Chris Davis will hit 65 home runs: That's right. Not 50, not 60 but 65 big boy blasts. And some, including this particular fantasy sports writer, will consider him the all-time home run king.
2. And he still won't win MVP ... because life isn't fair. Davis will spend many lonely nights this offseason wondering why he had to be born just three years apart from Miguel Cabrera (.370, 56 HR, 160 RBI by year's end). Thanks a lot, Mom and Dad.
3. The biggest name dealt at the trade deadline will be ... Jonathan Papelbon, who will finally give the Tigers the closer they've been looking for all season. Detroit's payroll is already the fourth-largest in the major leagues. What's another $13 million to add to the books? If it helps them win the World Series, it will be well worth it and remember, Papelbon has a 1.00 career ERA in the postseason.
4. Tim Lincecum will lead the league in losses ... the same year he pitched a no-hitter. Has that ever happened before? Actually yes. Dave Morehead accomplished this mildly embarrassing feat with the Red Sox back in 1965. Of course, this is assuming Lincecum's arm doesn't fall off after throwing 148 pitches in his last outing.
5. Carlos Gomez will continue to rob home runs: This guy does Torii Hunter better than Torii Hunter ever did Torii Hunter. He's already stolen four homers this year, including an epic game-winning catch that ruined Joey Votto's night about a week ago. Speaking of steals, Gomez has 21 of those this season, which is good for fifth-best in the National League. An All-Star and a Gold Glove award in the same season? Bet on it.
6. Manny Ramirez will put his stamp on this year's pennant race: No dreads, no problem. The 55-year-old (or however old he actually is), is killing it at Triple-A right now and it's just a matter of time before he starts bashing home runs for Texas. With Lance Berkman nursing a sore hip (or more accurately, a sore everything), moving Manny to DH seems like a no-brainer for the Rangers, who trail Oakland by two games for the lead in the AL West.
7. 2013 will be A-Rod's last season: And it won't be by choice. The Biogenesis clinic A-Rod used to frequent is about to blow up in his face. Last week reports surfaced that a 150-game ban would be "the best case scenario" for the disgraced All-Star. With Rodriguez set to turn 38 in a few days, a year-long suspension is going to be pretty tough to come back from. Nice knowing ya, A- Rod.
8. Puig will prevail: Instagram photos of Puig hanging out with Chris Brown at the Playboy Mansion? Bad. A .391 batting average and an OPS bordering on criminal (1.038 if you're interested)? Good. Absurdly good, actually. As long as Puig doesn't turn into Johnny Manziel (he likes to sleep in, it turns out), I think he's going to have a monster second half. And so will the Dodgers (two and a half games out of first in the NL West).
9. Kershaw will get the last laugh: Bruce Bochy loves to stick it to the Dodgers. He could have just snubbed Puig and left it at that. But then he went ahead and started Matt Harvey over Clayton Kershaw in the All-Star Game.
Those are fightin' words, partner. Kershaw (8-6, 1.98 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 139 K's) was the best hurler in the majors during the first half and he's going to be the best one in the second half too. I guarantee the lefty is counting down the days until he can rub his Cy Young award in Bochy's face.
10. The Reds will be the best team to not make the playoffs in a long time: The Reds are loaded. But so are the Nationals. They're going to turn this thing around sooner or later. I'm guessing sooner. I'm picking Harper and the boys to come out on top in a thrilling NL Wild Card Race. Maybe next year, Cincy.
11. Josh Hamilton will continue to disappoint: "Oh he's gonna have a monster second half!" No, he's not. Simply put, Hamilton's not that good anymore. Maybe he'll improve upon his .224 batting average (it would be hard not to), but I'm not holding out much hope for No. 32. Cheer up, Angels fans. At least you have Mike Trout to look forward to.
12. Red Sox fans will turn on Clay Buchholz ... if they haven't already. How long does it take to recover from "shoulder bursitis"? Forever, apparently. Buchholz hasn't pitched since June 8th while battling an injury that should have cost him one start at the most. This dude is the anti-Cal Ripken.
13. The Astros will become must-see baseball ... in September when they finally promote George Springer to the major leagues. He was leading Double-A in homers at the time of his call-up. Seventeen games into his stint with Triple-A Oklahoma City he's hitting .404 with seven long balls and 17 RBI. Did we mention that he has 28 stolen bases this season? Come on, give the guy a challenge.
14. Brian Wilson will return to the major leagues ... as a setup man for the Red Sox. It's the team he grew up rooting for and Boston's bullpen has been the team's lone area of weakness this season (24th in the majors in bullpen ERA). Wilson, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, was last spotted working out in Hawaii. We're still waiting for confirmation on the Machine's whereabouts.
15. Orioles and Pirates World Series? Book it.
That bold enough for you? Enjoy the second half, everybody.
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