After a wild All-Star Game, business is about to go back to usual for 28 MLB teams (the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals restarted their season a day early on Thursday).
With the Midsummer Classic's festivities out of the way, the focus is now on the business end of the season. The pennant race, for all intents and purposes, starts right now.
There's a lot of baseball left to be played, and many variables left to sort out. Trades, injuries, and the general twists of fate of baseball will all exert their power before the playoff field is finally confirmed.
Today, however, we will look through the fog of the future and try to make out a few solid shapes. What will the stories of the second half be? Here are our best guesses.