SI's senior baseball writer takes you further inside the game. This is just a taste of what you'll get online.
1 The good news for many contenders is that a lot of young starting pitchers have stepped into their rotations and become keys to winning a postseason berth. The bad news is that many are not equipped to keep up this workload, leaving the second half as an important test of how teams can balance development with a push for the playoffs. The San Diego Padres, for instance, have already shut down their ace, Mat Latos(below), for a two-week break. They want to cap his innings this year at about 150 to 170.
2 The most remarkable number to come out of the All-Star Game might have been the 100-mph clocking of David Price's fastball, considering his average fastball velocity is 94 mph. Price has been adding speed to his fastball as he continues to grow into a front-of-the-rotation starter. On July 2 against Minnesota, for instance, he hit 99 mph and averaged 96 with his fastball.
3 Sometimes a great year can be "hidden" because it spans two seasons. For instance, the Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez went 24--4 over the past year.
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (LATOS)