This is Casey Mitchell guest blogging for ST today. Now that the All-Star Break is over, baseball resumes today and there are many questions surrounding the second half of the season. One team that is on every one's mind is the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Buccos begin the second half with a one game lead over the Reds, and the Pirates are looking for their first winning season in my lifetime. They have the front-runner for the NL MVP in Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen is not only hitting .362 with 18 homers and 60 RBI, but he just has a different sense of confidence this season. Maybe that has something to do with him hitting the cover off the ball. On the other end of the spectrum is the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are now 14 games out of the division lead and 13 games below .500. If you would have told me before the season had started, that the Pirates would be 11 games over .500 and the Phillies would be 14 games behind the Nationals, I would have laughed right in your face.
Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are continuing to battle it out as rookies. I know that Trout has much better stats than Harper batting .341 compared to Harper's .284, but Harper has that Pete Rose hustle and he plays the game the right way... HARD! Don't get me wrong, I thing Trout is a great player, and he could become the first player since Ichiro to win the Rookie of the Year Award and the MVP in the same season. Two great young players will continue to liven up the sport of baseball in the second half.