The first half of the season ends today with the New York Yankees gasping for air, the Milwaukee Brewers pumping their fists and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals fighting for the title of the major leagues' worst team. In other words, the first half, as always, had some surprises and some almost certainties. Here's a look at midseason awards - with a twist added at the end: anti-awards for the biggest disappointments.
AL MVP Alex Rodriguez, New York The Yankees aren't a playoff-bound team and now he's banged up. But you can't deny his numbers: He's winning two-thirds of the Triple Crown and is in the top 15 in batting average. A serious case can be made for Detroit's Magglio Ordonez, who is having a tremendous year for a contender, and Los Angeles' Vladimir Guerrero.
ANTI-MVP Julio Lugo, Boston The Lugo Line has a more repulsive ring to it than the Mendoza Line. Here's a guy who batted nearly .300 two years ago with Tampa Bay and is south of .200 this year, including an 0-for-33 skid. The worst part: He signed a four-year, $36 million deal this offseason.
NL MVP Prince Fielder, Milwaukee The Brewers are this year's first-half surprise team with a lot of young talent in a bad division. Fielder has been the biggest reason, leading the league in homers and among the leaders in slugging percentage and RBIs. Colorado's Matt Holliday, Philadelphia's Chase Utley and New York's Jose Reyes are close runners-up.
ANTI-MVP Andruw Jones, Atlanta Talk about bad timing. Jones is in his free-agent walk year and was looking at a bank-breaking deal. But his batting average has hovered around .200 with an on-base percentage around .300. And he has struck out in almost 30 percent of his at-bats. The runner-down has to be Philadelphia's Pat Burrell.
Cy Young Awards
AL CY YOUNG Dan Haren, Oakland Through 19 starts, he has as many innings pitched (129 1/3 ) as hits and walks allowed (129). He's leading the league in ERA and is one of fewer than a dozen AL pitchers with double-digit wins. AL CY WORST Ervin Santana, Los Angeles This is the guy who was the key in the potential Miguel Tejada trade to the Angels last year. And he has plenty of talent. But with one start left this half, he has been horrendous. He's 5-9 with a 5.35 ERA, and he's given up a mind-numbing 21 homers in 17 starts. That's utterly Bruce Chen-like. Second place in AL Cy Worst voting: Any starter with "Texas" on his road jersey.
NL CY YOUNG Jake Peavy, San Diego This is almost a dead heat with his teammate, Chris Young, and Los Angeles' Brad Penny. Give Peavy the edge because he has a legitimate chance at the pitching Triple Crown (wins, strikeouts and ERA).
NL CY WORST Kip Wells, St. Louis The numbers here are extraordinarily bad, and he finally was exiled to the bullpen from a pitching-thin rotation. In his first 18 games, he went 3-11 with a 6.06 ERA. He's had eight outings this year in which he has given up five or more runs. Plus, he's making $4 million this year.
AL ROOKIE Reggie Willits, Los Angeles He's ranked in the top 15 in average and in the top 10 in on-base percentage and steals and has been a lifesaver for the West-leading Angels. For you Jeremy Guthrie supporters, Willits also got snubbed for the All-Star Game and he plays every day for a contender, which helps his case. Guthrie certainly is deserving, as is Boston's Japanese pitching duo of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima.
AL ROCKY ROOKIE Kei Igawa, New York Only the Yankees could spend $46 million on a fifth starter with a 7-plus ERA and one minor league demotion already.
NL ROOKIE Hunter Pence, Houston The outfielder didn't come up right away, but he has hit for average and power and looks like he's worth the hype. Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki also gets some consideration.
NL ROCKY ROOKIE Kevin Kouzmanoff, San Diego Was given the Padres' starting third base job and has floundered. Only three NL rookies have more at-bats, but he's struggled to hit over .220.
AL MANAGER Mike Hargrove, Seattle Yeah, I got the memo. Hargrove resigned last week, but his team, which was supposed to get him fired by now, was in the middle of the wild-card hunt. Curious move to leave, but he'll take this fake hardware with him. Cleveland's Eric Wedge and Boston's Terry Francona are still with their teams.
AL NOT MANAGING Ron Washington, Texas The Yankees' Joe Torre and the White Sox's Ozzie Guillen are in charge of bad teams with high expectations and bloated payrolls. Washington is just feeling his way as a rookie manager. But the Rangers are bad in every facet, and he's already clashed with some key players.
NL MANAGER Ned Yost, Milwaukee The talent was there, but he has them in first. So he deserves the nod. Philadelphia's Charlie Manuel, who is seemingly always in trouble, has done a nice job steering a troubled ship. San Diego's Bud Black and Los Angeles' Grady Little should get votes, too.
NL NOT MANAGING Bruce Bochy, San Francisco The teams that are struggling are doing so mainly because their roster construction is terrible. That's the deal in San Francisco, but because someone has to get this award, we'll give it to him.