Overtime with Ken Morse: Eye-opening first half of MLB season is over


It’s not like it’s never happened before, but you could probably count on one hand the amount of times the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets all pulled into the All-Star break with a real possibility of missing the postseason in the last 25 years.
The last time it occurred was in 2014. There’s still a lot of baseball to be played yet. Heck, we have an entire second half of the season to go but the warning signs are beginning to show up.
The three local teams each have only one player to represent them at the midsummer classic, something that hasn’t happened in quite some time. The Red Sox have Kenley Jansen, the Yankees are down to Gerrit Cole after Aaron Judge was replaced due to an injury, and the lowly Mets sent Peter Alonso, the only legitimate threat with 25 home runs, in spite of missing out on batting (.214) his weight by 31 pounds.
The 93rd All-Star Game, held at T-Mobile Park in Seattle on July 11, had its share of surprises with 28 first timers in attendance. Leading the All-Star teams were the Braves (eight players) in the National League and the Rangers (six players) in the American League. As far as bragging rights were concerned, the A.L. came in as winners of the last nine in a row and held a 47-43-2 advantage in the series.
The red-hot Braves ran off a 21-4 mark in June to take over the N.L. East, and the Rangers have managed to finish the first half ahead of the Astros after finishing 28 games behind them last season.
So what has changed? A whole lot of new faces. The A.L. paraded out guys named Jonah Heim (Texas) as starting catcher and Josh Jung (Texas) at third base with Yandy Diaz (Tampa Bay) at first base, not really household names by any stretch.
The N.L. had Luis Arraez (Miami) at second base, Orlando Arcia (Atlanta) at shortstop and Corbin Carroll (Arizona) in the outfield and had the average fan asking, who are these guys?
Jung and Carroll are rookies, marking the first time ever that both leagues started rookies in an All-Star game, but the question that remains in everyone’s mind, at least our local baseball fans favoring the Red Sox, Yankees or Mets, is what has happened to our beloved baseball teams?
Is it mismanagement, injuries or just plain bad choices in the offseason? Apparently the Red Sox didn’t think having a veteran shortstop was really that important until they started kicking away games, leading the league in errors at shortstop.
Injuries are part of the game, but when they happen to your go-to guy like Aaron Judge, who could be lost for the season, you see your win-loss record go from 30-19 with him in the lineup to 18-21 without him in the lineup.
Having Buck Showalter in the dugout leading the Mets sounded like the right move to make to get back to the postseason. However, when you surround him with four pitchers over the age of 38 you might have an endurance issue.
So as MLB gets set to ramp up the second half of the season, there is a very good chance local baseball fans won’t be watching their favorite teams come October for the first time in a very long time.
Hopefully that will set the wheels in motion to do a complete evaluation of those teams and make some real decisions that will last more than a couple of months or so. Here’s to your team that you’re rooting for and may you be there heading down the stretch with a chance of qualifying for the postseason.