As we head into the All Star beak I take a look at some players from the AL that need to step up big time in order for their teams to have a shot at playing long into October.
The Boston Red Sox corner outfielder's: The corner outfielders have been very sub par this season for the Sox. Their starting RF, J.D Drew, is batting a miserable .229 with only 4 homers and 21 RBI's while their huge offseason accusation, Carl Crawford, has been streaky but overall has had a terrible first half of the season. Crawford is batting a sub par .243 with a .275 OPS 6 homers and 31 RBI's. The Red Sox need Crawford to come back from his hamstring injury healthier than ever and need JD Drew to get going. If the Sox want to take home another World Series Ttitle these two will need to step up.
Evan Longoria , Rays: The Rays young third baseman seems to be having a slump year. He is batting a career worst .242, over .030 less than his career average. The Ray has been battling various injures all season and is battling a foot injury at the time. Hopefully the All Star break will help him get healthy again so he can try and lead the Rays to another playoff birth in the tough AL East.
Joe Mauer, Twins: The former AL MVP missed the first quarter of the season but since his return the Twins have become relevant again. After starting out with the MLB's worst record the Twins are only 7 games out of first place in the Central. If Mauer can pick it up and stay injury free and if Justin Morneau comes back well after his neck surgery we could see a possible run for the Twins.
Adam Dunn, White Sox: The White Sox paid big money during the off season for Adam Dunn, 4 years 56 million, and he has done nothing but disappoint southsiders all season. In 2009 Dunn hit .267 with 38 homers and 105 RBI's and backed that up with a 2.60 average 38 homers and 103 RBI's in 2010. This season Dunn is averaging an awful .164 with 9 homers and only 34 RBI's while striking out an AL leading 115 times. The White Sox need Dunn to step up and become a productive DH in the second half of the season.
Mariners All Star Ichiro
The Tigers rotation, except Justin Verlander: Verlander has been exceptional and has had a Cy Young first half of the year but the rest of the rotation has been less than mediocre. The other four pitchers in the rotation all have and ERA over 4.50 and a WHIP above 1.40. As a team Detroit ranks 25th in total ERA, even with Verlander. If the Tigers want to win the Central their 2-5 pitchers need to improve.
The Seattle lineup: The Mariners are last in the MLB in runs scored, batting average, and OBS. The pitching has been amazing for the Mariners and has kept them in the race out West. The entire rotation, lead by Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez, has an ERA of under 3.50 and ranks 4th in the MLB. The batting though has been awful. Ichiro leads the Mariners with a modest .273 average, which is what the Red Sox team is averaging this season. If the Mariners, only 6.5 games back, want to have a playoff shot then they need Ichiro, Chone Figgins and Co. to get rolling.