The teams already see the first half of the campaign from the rearview mirror, but they know that there is still a long way to go before reaching the long-awaited goal.
With the game schedule resuming tonight with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees meeting, the organizations come off the All-Star break to continue the race. So far only a few look like clear favorites, but with two and a half months to go, anything can happen.
The red-legged ones have remained at the forefront of their AL East division this year, and they hope to continue their rhythm tonight against their bitter rivals. To seek to extend their great streak, those led by Alex Cora will have Venezuelan Eduardo Rodríguez on the mound.
E-Rod will go into his 18th start of the year with a 6-5 record with a 5.52 ERA. This will be the third time in this harvest that the Bronx Bombers will be measured, against whom in his career he has a record of 7-6 and 3.88.
However, Boston is not the only contending club on the young circuit, as Houston also stands out on its way.
The Astros closed the first half with the same Red Sox record, both reflecting 55-36. The sidereal, however, have the best race differential in the entire AL at +136. And last but not least, they have the best team average of the majors with .269, as well as lead in RBIs with 475.
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Still, both Boston and Houston are no more than four games away from their pursuers in their respective divisions, so the margin for error will be minimal. Quite the opposite occurs with the Chicago White Sox, which leads the Central division for eight games with 54-35.
In the National everything seems to be disputed between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both compete for the best mark in the big top, but at the same time they fight for the Western pennant.
Those from the Bay have been the least expected surprise of 2021, but they still have to maintain the level shown in the first half during 73 confrontations.
Their combination of effective pitching along with timely hitting has served to momentarily dethrone the Californians from the divisional top.
Even so, the Dodgers, weakened several times by injuries, remain firm in the contest. It will be difficult for the reigning MLB champions to get out of the October party, in which they will want to revalidate their title.
The Milwaukee Brewers close the list of favorites to register for the postseason, after the clean and jerk of good results they achieved in recent weeks.
Finally, in the East of the National, there is a tough fight in the final stretch with the Mets, Phillies, Braves and Nationals in an interesting fight for the top.