Second Half Keys to a Division Title
There are no trophies for leading your division at the All-Star break. The second half of the MLB season is what separates the contenders from the pretenders, and many of the Cave Dwellers’ teams have legitimate chances to make the 2012 Postseason.
Here are the Dwellers’ keys to their teams winning their respective divisions:
Atlanta Braves – NL East, by @rickymast and @SkippinsYNN
1. Solidify the rotation, whether it is Jurrjens pitching like the first half of 2011, a deadline trade, or both.
2. Use the bullpen wisely. Avoid overusing late inning pitchers. A healthy Peter Moylan returning should help as well.
3. RUN, RUN, RUN! We've got speed at the top of the order with Bourn and Heyward, and we need to take advantage of it.
Los Angeles Angels – AL West, by @iblogbetter
1. TnT continue to blow up (Trout and Trumbo).
2. Starting pitching staying healthy.
3. Pujols and Morales step it up a notch and bring the power.
Minnesota Twins – AL Central, by @LindsayGuentzel
1. We need to have better starts from our veteran pitchers. In fact, I'll throw a pizza party for the first starting pitcher who makes it past six innings in five consecutive starts.
2. Mauer and Morneau need to party like it's 2008. Or just eat like it. Someone needs to get in touch with Jimmy John's and start making it the team's pregame meal.
3. Trevor Plouffe and Josh Willingham need to place a friendly wager on who can hit more home runs this season. Heck, I'll throw a pizza party for the winner of that duel, too.
Philadelphia Phillies – NL East, by @gordonmack
1. Chase Utley's jaw structure.
2. 85% of Ryan Howard.
3. Halladay/Hamels/Lee/Worley pitching 8 innings every start.
San Francisco Giants – NL West, by @smashleychavez
1. Tim Lincecum avoiding his "bad inning."
2. Melky keeping his spark alive. If he continues what he's doing...ooohhh wweeee!
3. Freddy Sanchez coming back and staying healthy. He is such a clubhouse must for our team, we would be unstoppable with him back on the field.
St. Louis Cardinals – NL Central, by @KyleOKC
1. Bullpen effectiveness: This has been the biggest disappointment with the ’12 squad thus far. They might have to look outside the organization to sure up the bullpen for a 2nd half run.
2. Offensive consistency: The Cards still have the NL’s best offense, but they have gone on stretches where they score a majority of their runs in only a few games. They need to avoid that.
3. Healthy Carp and Garcia: If Carpenter and Garcia can come back healthy and pitch effectively, the Redbirds should see playoff baseball.