Braves-Phillies preview at MLB.com (paraphrased): Jair Jurrjens looks to set the tone by taking the start tonight in Philly!
Braves minor league starter Brandon Beachy to his hometown paper, the Kokomo Tribune (paraphrased): I’m with the Braves in Philadelphia, Jair Jurrjens knee is injured, and if he can’t go, I’m going to get the start!
Braves GM Frank Wren to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this morning (paraphrased): Jurrjens is fine. Beachy will not pitch.
If I wanted to paraphrase Wren a bit more liberally, I could have gone with “Thanks to him flapping his gums to the Hooterville Chronicle and (a) letting everyone know that our starter is gimpy; and (b) giving the Phillies 12 hours to dig up scouting reports on the emergency starter whom, really, only had the element of surprise in his favor, Brandon Beachy will never pitch for the Atlanta Braves as long as I’m alive.”
But maybe I’m just reading too much into it.
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: