By Nick Parsons - June 20th has arrived and its officially the first day of summer in 2008. It is, fittingly, the perfect time to take a look at Who is Hot and Who is Not as we head into late-June Interleague action. Over the next week and a half the majors will be dominated by a schedule that is still heavy with inter-league match-ups. Friday the 13th it all got underway and its the perfect time for some haves and some have-nots that might get us some line value as we continue through this IL-heavy schedule! With only about three weeks to go before the All Star Break, this is the last opportunity some teams have to see what kind of season they can really have. Teams that are down will either stay down (or sink further) or theyll make a push toward garnering some positive momentum heading into the All Star Break. These next ten days of inter-league action will be critical to proving which way teams might be headed. Below we take a quick look at some of the teams that are making moves, both good and bad. Note that all streaks indicated are through games completed as of Thursday the 19th of June.
Philadelphia Phillies The Phillies have suddenly lost three straight series and they now face the best road team in the majors as the Angels are in town this weekend. Next up the Phillies have to go on the road to Oakland, Texas, and Atlanta. Needless to say the Phillies despite a lineup that is extremely dangerous and despite a solid bullpen (led by Brad Lidge) still has some tough times up ahead after struggling over the last ten days.
Chicago Cubs As we noted in last weeks column, the Cubs certainly appear to be the real deal but be careful with them as the impact of the Alfonso Soriano injury shakes out. Sure enough, the Cubs just finished getting swept at Tropicana Field and they now renew their brutal rivalry with the cross-town White Sox this weekend. At least theyre at home but than a resurgent Orioles lineup comes to town too. There could be some line value available in fading Chicago in a spot or two. As noted last week, its also hard to ignore the fact that theyve got a losing record on the road. Even at home, the Cubs are facing some tough match-ups up ahead.
New York Yankees Last week we discussed how the Yankees are finally starting to get on a roll again and they are now seven games over .500 heading into their weekend series with the Reds. This could be a good time to continue to jump on board with the Yankees as they have now won 12 of their last 15 games! The Yanks should continue to make positive movement in the standings in the coming weeks. Their bullpen can be erratic but theyve been getting some solid starts from their rotation plus their lineup is starting to produce again in a huge way. After the Reds, the Yankees face the Pirates so there could still be money to be made with these Bronx Bombers in their next few series.
Arizona Diamondbacks The Diamondbacks are just 11-18 in their last 29 games and, although a series against the As produced a surprising series win for Arizona, the real story here is that the Dbacks are simply not near the team some thought they were early this season! Their lineup has holes (and big ones at that) and only four teams in the majors have committed more errors than Arizona has!
Washington Nationals The Nats finally got some decent arms back in the rotation again but of course they are going through an adjustment phase. Theyre also finding out that when you dont score many runs (and the Nats generally dont) its very tough to win many ballgames! The slide will continue for Washington. They just finished up getting swept at Minnesota and they scored just six runs in the three games! Now, even though theyre back home they face the high-powered Rangers and the road-loving Angels! Ouch!