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Big trades, playoff picture shakeup? What to watch for in baseball's second half

What kind of shake ups are we looking at in the MLB playoff picture and can contenders scoop up All-Star pitchers Max Scherzer and Kyle Gibson?

DENVER — Major League Baseball's All-Star break is coming to an end as teams are set to resume their seasons for the second half.

Which teams will hold down their spot in the standings and which teams are going to be looking for a boost with a potential blockbuster trade? 

On Thursday's Locked On Today podcast, Locked On MLB host Paul "Sully" Sullivan joined the show to talk about what he'll be watching for and keeping an eye on as the MLB season restarts.

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Can we get a shake up at the top?

Current playoff teams:

AL: White Sox, Red Sox, Astros, Rays (Wild Card), Athletics (Wild Card)
NL: 
Giants, Brewers, Mets, Dodgers (Wild Card), Padres (Wild Card)

Since the middle of June, the teams at the top in both leagues have remained in their spots from division leaders to the Wild Card. 

"Oddly the team that is making the biggest charge is Cincinnati, who took three out of four against Milwaukee and open the second half against the Brewers. If they continue to play well, they'll chip away," Sullivan said on Locked On Today. "But it says a lot about the (National League) races that the closest one and the tightest one is a team that has a four game lead."

In the American League, the Rays are a game behind the Red Sox for the division lead, but the Rays are comfortably in the Wild Card spot, over six games ahead of the Blue Jays and Mariners in third and fourth. 

Big trades coming?

A key part of the second half of the MLB season is always big trades at the deadline for playoff teams or teams in the hunt trying to make a charge.

Sullivan said Kyle Gibson of the Texas Rangers is his current favorite to win the AL Cy Young Award and he could be a key piece teams look to trade for.

"He's my favorite to win the Cy Young Award and he's on the (trade) block," Sullivan said. "So when you take a look at Gibson and assuming the Nationals don't burst out of the gate, with Max Scherzer, you have two pitchers who are All-Star caliber pitchers who are available and so many teams could use that."

Sullivan said to look for teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, who have struggled with pitching since Tyler Glasnow got injured, to look to make a deal for one of those pitchers.

"Whoever gets Scherzer, and whoever gets Gibson, is going to get a gigantic boost for the second half," Sullivan said. 

Also on today's Locked On Today:

  • Giannis and the Bucks even up the NBA Finals at 2-2 after a thrilling Game 4 win at home.
  • Could Ben Simmons be a good fit for the Dallas Mavericks?
  • It was a star-studded night for the WNBA All-Stars with an impressive shooting performance all around.
  • Free Agent, Richard Sherman is facing several charges, including one on suspicion of burglary domestic violence, after he was arrested at his wife's parents' residence in Redmond, Washington, early Wednesday.

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