Ranking the second-half schedules: Yanks have it easy, Pirates don't

Clint Hurdle and Joe Girardi are in very different situations when it comes to second-half difficulty. Getty Images

The glut of teams clinging to hope of making the postseason as wild-card entrants has created a logjam in the trade market, but given the challenging schedules faced by some teams right out of the All-Star break, the list of sellers could grow quickly.

Ranking the second-half schedules for the top 24 MLB teams -- using the All-Star-break standings, I excluded clubs that started the second half 10 games below .500 or worse, plus the Reds and Padres, who are expected to be sellers -- from toughest to easiest, it appears the Yankees and Royals could be in for good second halves, while the Pirates have a challenging situation.

1. Chicago White Sox
Remaining home games: 41 of their final 76 games
Games left against teams with records over .500: 41

Quirks: It's like the baseball gods have stacked the odds against the White Sox in the second half, given the gauntlet laid out before them. Out of the break, the White Sox will face, in order: Kansas City and St. Louis at home, Cleveland and Boston on the road, the Yankees and Tampa Bay at home, the Royals on the road, then 10 games against the Angels (seven) and Cubs (three).

Good luck with that.

Big finish: If the White Sox are somehow still in the playoff race down the stretch, their final games could matter. They get to host six games against division rivals Detroit and Kansas City in the final week.

2. Pittsburgh Pirates
Remaining home games: 33 of their final 74 games
Games left against teams with records over .500: 40

Quirks: The Pirates have a tough stretch in August, when they face the Cubs, Dodgers, Cardinals and Mets in 12 consecutive games (Aug. 3-16). But the toughest thing could be their 10-game road trip through Dodger Stadium, Coors Field and Wrigley Field beginning Sept. 18