Playing with a heavy heart hasn’t slowed Josh Hamilton.
The 2010 AL MVP delivered a two-run homer off Andrew Bailey in the bottom of the ninth to give the Rangers a 7-6 win over the A’s on Saturday.
It was the first homer allowed by Bailey in 15 innings this season, and it traveled 435 feet into the second deck of seats in right field.
Hamilton finished the game 4-for-5 with three RBI. Two of his other three hits were doubles. The walkoff homer was the second of his career. The other came off the Angels’ Francisco Rodriguez on the same date three years ago.
The Rangers have won six games in a row, and tonight was their 50th of the season. They’re the third AL team to reach that plateau, joining the Red Sox and the Yankees, and they lead the Angels by one game in the AL West.
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: