Chone Figgins, of all people, saves the Mariners from total humiliation

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The Mariners fanned 18 times against CC Sabathia, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera while being held to one hit in a 4-1 loss Tuesday.  It was their 17th straight loss.

The only Mariner to play the whole game without striking out was .182-hitting Chone Figgins, who actually fanned three times in his last start Thursday against the Blue Jays.  Figgins also drove in the club’s lone run on a fielder’s choice.

Everything else was simply hideous.  Miguel Olivo struck out four times.  Ichiro Suzuki and Brendan Ryan whiffed three times apiece.  The only starter besides Figgins not to K was Greg Halman, who went 0-for-2 before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.  That pinch-hitter, Adam Kennedy, struck out.

In all, it was the 36th 18-strikeout game of nine-innings of less in major league history.  The Yankees tied their team record.  Ron Guidry fanned 18 all by himself back against the Angels on June 17, 1978.  Sabathia, who had his outing interrupted by a rain delay, fanned 14 of the 25 batters he faced tonight.

Of course, the Mariners were on the losing end of the first ever 20-strikeout nine-inning game.  Boston’s Roger Clemens was responsible for that massacre on April 29, 1986.  There have been two more 20 strikeout games since.  If not for Figgins, there might have been a fourth tonight.

Nick Markakis leads all NL outfielders in All-Star voting

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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: