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Why they won’t: With Pierzynski gone, the jury is out with Tyler Flowers at catcher. Keppinger replaces Youkilis at third base. Paul Konerko remains a force, but other hitters in the lineup are boom or bust, including Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham.
2012: 68-94 (24-53 after All-Star break)
Who’s gone: Shin-Soo Choo, Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore, Roberto Hernandez, Jack Hannahan, Shelley Duncan.
Who’s new: Terry Francona (manager), Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Mike Aviles, Trevor Bauer, Scott Kazmir, Brett Myers, Bryan Shaw, Drew Stubbs.
Why they’ll contend: They reshuffled the deck after another brutal second half last year. It wasn’t former manager Manny Acta’s fault, but the Indians landed a proven winner in Francona. Ownership re-established its commitment by signing Swisher for $56 million and Bourn for $48 million. And the back end of the bullpen is solid, led by All-Star closer Chris Perez.
Why they won’t: The starting rotation has too many question marks. If Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson are on their game, look out. But that’s a big if, especially for Jimenez, who’s been a huge disappointment since 2010.
2012: 66-96 (30-47 after All-Star break)
Who’s gone: Scott Baker, Denard Span, Ben Revere, Carl Pavano, Matt Capps.
Who’s new: Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Correia.
Why they’ll contend: The last time the Twins entered a season with expectations this low was 2008, their first year without Johan Santana and Torii Hunter. Expected favorites Detroit and Cleveland flopped, and the Twins wound up losing a Game 163 tiebreaker to the White Sox 1-0. The Twins have had two straight seasons derailed by injuries, so better health would be a boost.
Why they won’t: Their pitching staff pales in comparison to Detroit’s and Chicago’s. Worley, Pelfrey and Correia might stabilize things after last year’s debacle, but they are not high-end talents. And the lineup has too many question marks — second base, third base, shortstop, center field, right field — to imagine it coming together at once.
|Chicago Cubs - WP: B. Parker||6||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - LP: J. Hoover||4|
|Philadelphia - WP: D. Buchanan||9||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - LP: M. Garza||1|
|Oakland - WP: S. Kazmir||6||FINAL|
|San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson||1|
|Chicago WSox - LP: R. Belisario||3||FINAL|
|Boston - WP: A. Miller||4|
|Washington - LP: G. Gonzalez||3||FINAL|
|Baltimore - WP: W. Chen||4|
|NY Yankees - LP: M. Thornton||3||FINAL|
|Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco||9|
|Atlanta - WP: A. Harang||3||FINAL|
|NY Mets - LP: B. Colon||1|
|Pittsburgh - WP: E. Volquez||9||FINAL|
|St. Louis - LP: S. Miller||1|
|LA Angels - WP: H. Santiago||15||FINAL|
|Texas - LP: C. Lewis||6|
|Detroit - WP: D. Smyly||16||FINAL|
|Kansas City - LP: J. Guthrie||4|
|San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne||1||FINAL|
|Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw||2|
|Minnesota - WP: Y. Pino||4||FINAL|
|Seattle - LP: T. Wilhelmsen||2|
|Calgary||7/12/14 5:30 PM|
|Brt Columbia||7/12/14 8:30 PM|
|Edmonton||7/17/14 7:30 PM|
|Toronto||7/18/14 6:00 PM|
|Hamilton||7/18/14 9:00 PM|
|Montreal||7/19/14 6:00 PM|
Poll: What are you most looking forward to during All-Star festivities?