The Reds saved their greatest humiliation of the year for the last day of the season.
40-year-old Miguel Batista, who hadn’t pitched a complete game in five years, hurled a three-hit shutout in the Mets’ 3-0 win over the Reds on Wednesday. It was his fifth career shutout and first since July 19, 2006 against the Dodgers.
The outing matched Batista’s low hit total for a complete game in his career. He had thrown three three-hitters previously, again the last coming in 2006. His only previous three-hit shutout came with the Expos on June 5, 1999.
Batista, who was released by the Cardinals earlier this season, hadn’t thrown more than six innings in any of his previous four starts this year.
The Reds have made it clear that they intend to bring Dusty Baker back next year. Really, though, the team simply folded today against a journeyman reliever to finish 79-83. I don’t suppose it’s fair to base any decisions on the way an als0-ran plays on the final day of the season, but if Baker can’t keep his team motivated — which is really supposed to be his biggest strength — what good is he doing the Reds?
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: