Heading into the MLB All-Star break, teams are given the opportunity to evaluate their standing halfway through the regular season. While some are all but locks for the playoffs and others are already building towards the future, there are a variety of teams on the cusp of the playoffs with half a season to go. For these teams, it’s imperative to get off to a strong start after the All-Star Break to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Considering this, here are three teams that could make a second-half playoff push.
Boston Red Sox
The 2018 World Series Champions started this season with one of the worst championship hangovers in recent memory. In their first 10 games, the Sox were 2-8, the second worst 10-game start by a defending World Series champion in league history. They definitely started off slow, but the Red Sox gained some momentum and head into the All-Star break with a 49-41 record. At the moment, they sit at third place in the AL East and are only two games back from the second Wild Card spot. Offensively, the Red Sox continue to boast one of the most impressive lineups in the league. However, in order to make a second-half push, expect the Red Sox to make a move to add pitching depth.
While it’s been reported that the Red Sox are targeting starting pitchers, expect them to also look to add depth to their bullpen. Having finally caught momentum prior to the break and possessing an abundance of talent, expect the Red Sox to make some moves and aim for a playoff push in the back half of the season.
After losing Bryce Harper to the Philadelphia Phillies in free agency, it appeared clear that the Washington Nationals were in a semi-rebuilding stage. Shockingly, heading into the All-Star break, the Nationals sit at second place in the NL East with a 47-42 record.
Currently, the Nationals are six games behind first place in the division and hold onto the first Wild Card spot in the National League. They’ve won eight of their last ten before the break. With top-tier starting pitchers in Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin alongside a solid core of position players in Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto and Trea Turner, the Nationals have quietly established themselves as a playoff contender in the National League, and should be considered a threat to earn a wild-card spot. No Bryce, no problem.
San Diego Padres
At the All-Star break, the San Diego Padres sit at .500 with a 45-45 record. With the Los Angeles Dodgers sitting in first place of the NL West with an MLB-best 66-32 record, winning the division is out of the question. Instead, the Padres will be looking to secure a Wild Card spot in the second half of the season. They trail the second place Arizona Diamondbacks by only a half game, and the second Wild Card spot is within their reach.
Entering the All-Star break, the Padres have gained some momentum, winning three straight games against the Dodgers in LA. With young ace Chris Paddack back on the mound and a stacked left infield combination of Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr, the Padres look to finally be healthy and will be a playoff contender post-All Star break.