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Bold predictions: Cubs, Royals, Yankees are playoff-bound; Dodgers will set a record; more

Bold predictions for the second half of the MLB season, from who will make the playoffs (Yankees, Royals, Cubs) to who won't (Cardinals, Rockies) and more.

The passing of the All-Star break means that it's time to get serious about the playoff races, particularly as teams sort themselves into contenders and pretenders in advance of the July 31 trade deadline. In a grand tradition begun in 2012, it's also time for me to offer my bold predictions for the second half.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Predictions are a necessary evil in this industry. In the business of writing about baseball, you're expected to make 'em, and to wear 'em when they don't pan out, because hell hath no fury like a fan base armed with Google and a grievance. No matter how you arrive at them — mind-melding with Nate Silver, handing a 10-month old infant a few darts and a set of baseball cards, or referring back to last year's picks and doing the complete opposite — history has shown that most of them will be wrong anyway. A few will make you think you've cracked the code to this game for long enough to get a false sense of superiority. The majority will be star-spangled spectacularly wrong, worthy of burial in an unmarked grave in a distant sandlot.

What follows here are a fistful of predictions for the second half, all of them bold, some of them outlandish, maybe even a few of them right. The only guarantee I can make is that by season's end, somebody will have reminded me that I was wrong. After all, that's the entire purpose of the internet.