Phil Rogers joined MLB.com in 2013, and has covered Major League Baseball since 1984. Get his insights on MLB.com and MLB.com/live.
|In first place in the American League Central on June 18, having won 10 games in a row to climb to seven games over .500, the Royals have since gone 9-18, falling eight games behind Detroit and into sixth place in the AL Wild Card race. A season that has been almost a decade in the making, one that was designed to get the Royals into the playoffs for the first time since 1985, could slip away if players don't put on their hitting shoes in a hurry.
More» Guthrie fans five over six innings of work|
|A bargain signing for since-dismissed San Diego GM Josh Byrnes, Odrisamer Despaigne doesn't have the type of big arm that generates big contracts. But he's got the same kind of gift that made countrymen Mike Cuellar, Luis Tiant and Orlando Hernandez legends.
More» Despaigne loses no-hit bid, gets ovation|
|Hall of Famers Greg Maddux, Tony La Russa and Frank Thomas all launched their careers in Chicago, spending a combined 32 years with the Cubs or White Sox.
More»Behind the scenes with Hall of Famer Frank Thomas|
|With scoring at a modern low, you can't get to October if your team is punchless. No pitching staff is good enough to carry that much dead weight.
More»Looking ahead to what the AL's second half will bring|
|No one knows who is going to wind up with the American League pennant, but the survivor will owe thanks to players all over the league for the home-field advantage it will enjoy.
More» Trout goes 2-for-3, collects two RBIs|
|From Chris Sale and Max Scherzer to Koji Uehara, Fernando Rodney and hometown hero Glen Perkins, the American League pitchers won one big matchup after another against the National League's best hitters. In the end, it was enough to allow the AL to hang onto its 5-3 victory.
More» Sales fans Gomez to end the 4th inning|
|History tells us this: Home-field advantage is a huge factor in determining the outcome of the World Series. The team that should be favored to win a championship is the one from the league that wins tonight's All-Star Game.
More»Matheny names Wainwright starter, discusses lineup|
|Anthony Rizzo was as wide-eyed as anyone experiencing All-Star Game activities for the first time. But the joy he felt on Monday was matched by Starlin Castro, his Cubs teammate.
More»Anthony Rizzo on first All-Star Game selection|
|Ah, so this is what Theo Epstein has been up to the last few years. Fresh legs, reliable bats, a power arm on the mound and the ballpark packed, like it was when the Cubs were rolling out playoff teams. The best part is that the leading men against the Braves on Friday afternoon -- Arismendy Alcantara, All-Stars Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo and Jake Arrieta -- average only 24 1/2 years in age.
More» Renteria on Alcantara, Arrieta's outing|
|Pitchers like Masahiro Tanaka don't come along that often, so until he's back on the mound looking like the guy who started 11-1, the Yankees will hold their breath.
More» Girardi discusses Tanaka to the DL|
|There are no must-win games in July. It's still too early in the schedule to look ahead to postseason previews. But based on the excitement in St. Louis and Oakland last night, we are in for a treat when the really big series do arrive later this summer.
More» Adams wins it with a walk-off homer|
|David Price at Wrigley Field? Given the Cubs' position in the standings, it sounds crazy to speak of them as a possible pursuer for the best pitcher on the market. But after trading Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein might be in the best position of all executives to put together a package that would pry the 28-year-old lefty away from the Rays.
More»Cubs acquire top prospects Russell and McKinney|
|Though the Athletics are the winningest team in baseball over the past two years, the front office showed its willingness to go further in the playoffs by trading for Cubs starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel at the cost of top prospects Addison Russell and Billy McKinney.
More» Rosenthal breaks down blockbuster deal|
|Sixty-six of the 68 All-Star spots will be filled and finalists will be named for the Final Vote to complete the teams, and the only thing that's guaranteed is that there will be outrage somewhere at the results.
More»Cliff Floyd and Bill Ripken talk All-Star lineups|
|There's a belief that the Angels will shop for a proven closer before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, hoping to move Joe Smith back into a setup role. But why not give him a real chance to take over the closer's role?
More» Smith gets Viciedo to finish the save|
|It was fitting that Garrett Richards worked eight strong innings in an 8-4 win over the White Sox in Game 1 of Tuesday's doubleheader. He's been as big of a key as anyone for the Angels positioning themselves for a Wild Card spot, if not running down the powerful Athletics in the American League West.
More» Richards strikes out nine over eight frames|
|Look out, Mark McGwire. You, too, Big Al Belle. Jose Abreu is coming after you. In fact, with the Major League Baseball season essentially at its halfway point, the big first baseman from Cuba is (just a little) more than halfway to the records you hold.
More»Rookie slugger powering White Sox offense this season|
|Chicago has seen plenty of players -- and All-Stars -- come and go over the last five years, but this season, the Cubs have multiple players on the hill and at the plate who could conceivably book a spot on the National League roster in Minnesota.
More» Samardzija fans seven, holds Reds to one run|
|After suffering a horrific injury on a line drive back through the box in Spring Training, Aroldis Chapman has come back better than ever.
More» Frazier snares a liner to end the game|
|Imagine if your team were in first place and about to add a two-time All-Star? What would you have to give up to get a guy like that? The answer for the Nationals, at least at this point, is a plane ticket. Bryce Harper figures to be ready to go on Monday after rehabbing his surgically repaired thumb.
More» Harper's homer reviewed, call stands in 4th|