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September 18, 2000

The Daily Prospectus

An Olympian Effort

by Joe Sheehan

(Today's Daily Prospectus is brought to you by NBC Sports.)

Another Midsummer Classic is behind us, as the American League defeated the National League Tuesday 6-3. The Yankees' Derek Jeter, one of the many players whose spot in the lineup came at the expense of an injured starter, had three hits and became the first Yankee to win the game's MVP award.

The game definitely was missing a bit of its allure, as seven of the starters voted in by the fans missed the game due to injury, including Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez and Mike Piazza. Additionally, the probable American League starting pitcher, Pedro Martinez, missed the game with a pulled muscle.

Even with the missing superstars, the fans in Atlanta had a great time, as two local heroes provided big moments. The Braves' Andres Galarraga, who beat cancer to regain his All-Star status, received a tremendous ovation when he was introduced and when he poked a single. Chipper Jones, the NL's 1999 MVP, hit a solo home run in the third inning that brought crowd to its feet as well.

With the All-Star Game behind us, we can look ahead to the second half of the season. The 2000 season has already given us its share of surprises, most notably the Chicago White Sox, who have the game's best record and appear to be running away with the AL Central. The Sox have a low payroll and a young roster, and their success has put the lie to the idea that you have to have a massive payroll and a veteran team to win.

On the other hand, the Houston Astros have been a disaster, as injuries and performance collapses have combined to turn the division's favorite--at least in some eyes--into the worst team in baseball. The Astros have been a bit unlucky, with the worst record in one-run games in the majors, and I think you can expect them to bounce back from here on out. They won't be a factor in any races, but they should fall shy of 100 losses and may be one of the league's better teams over the season's last three months.

What else can we expect? Well...

  • The Yankees will continue to acquire as many players as they can afford. Already, Dave Justice is in their lineup. Look for them to pick up another starting pitcher, then get serious about acquiring Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa. Or some Cub outfielder.

  • The Dodgers will play .750 ball in the second half, running away with the NL West. The Giants will collapse in the second half, as Dusty Baker once again wears out his pitching staff.

  • Mark McGwire will again chase 70 home runs, finally winning the MVP he was denied two years ago.

(This has been brought to you by NBC Sports. NBC, bringing you yesterday's news tomorrow.)

Joe Sheehan can be reached at jsheehan@baseballprospectus.com.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

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