* The latest reason why he’s one of my favorite managers: Jim Leyland apologized
and admitted that he “was totally out of line” after being ejected from
yesterday’s game for arguing balls and strikes with an imploding
Dontrelle Willis on the mound.
* As expected, the Mets have confirmed
that J.J. Putz will miss 8-10 weeks following surgery to remove bone
spurs from his elbow. Rookie Bobby Parnell will continue to serve as
Francisco Rodriguez’s primary setup man.
* Geovany Soto is hitting just .209 with one homer in 42 games, so Lou Piniella has decided to give the reigning Rookie of the Year “a nice little mental break” while starting Koyie Hill behind the plate.
* Bill Hall has hit .221/.289/.385 in 175 games since the beginning of last season and it sounds like
the Brewers are finally running out of patience. Unfortunately for
them, he’s making $6.8 million this season with another $8.4 million
coming next year.
* Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com penned an interesting, even-handed article about college pitchers racking up huge workloads.
* Justin Morneau takes a crack at blogging, with mixed results.
I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.
Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.
The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.
Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.
Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.
The rest of the voting: