Sticking with the same 25-man roster they used in both the NLDS and NLCS, the Giants will not be adding Barry Zito to the pitching staff for the World Series.
There was some speculation that Zito could be added to the World Series roster in place of reliever Guillermo Mota, who went unused in the first two rounds, but apparently manager Bruce Bochy thinks a superfluous right-handed middle reliever is more useful than the veteran left-hander who made $18.5 million this season as part of a seven-year, $126 million deal that runs through 2013.
And it’s tough to blame him.
Zito put together a strong first half, going 8-4 with a 3.51 ERA, but fell apart down the stretch with a 1-8 record and 6.80 ERA in his final 10 outings. He also hasn’t pitched since October 2 and Madison Bumgarner has clearly emerged as the Giants’ fourth starter, so aside from perhaps making Zito feel better about himself or making the $126 million seem like slightly less of a disaster there was no real reason to add him.
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: