Bizarro World: Craig Kimbrel blows a save, Andrelton Simmons commits a game-ending error.

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Well that’s something one doesn’t expect to see every day.

The Nationals sprinted out to a 3-0 lead in the first game of today’s doubleheader against the Braves. Then Mike Minor settled down and didn’t allow another run through the sixth. The Braves scored runs in the sixth and seventh to bring it to 3-2.

In the top of the eighth inning Evan Gattis hit a two-run homer off Tyler Clippard. Braves up 4-3. An Ian Desmond error in the ninth gave Atlanta another run and a 5-3 lead. With Craig Kimbrel waiting to come in. Game over, right?

Wrong. Here’s what Kimbrel did:

  • Issued a walk to Adam LaRoche
  • Allowed an infield single to Wilson Ramos
  • Issued a walk to Anthony Rendon
  • Allowed a run-scoring groundout to Chad Tracy, making it 5-4
  • Induced a ground ball to short that went right through Andrelton Simmons’ wickets to allow the tying and winning runs to score.

Let me repeat: the shortstop who may be having the best defensive season in baseball history had one go right between the pipes. The closer who had never given up three runs in 225 major league appearances gave up three runs. And with that the game was lost.

Kimbrel was bound to blow a save eventually. Simmons is not going to make every play. But boy howdy, you’d not make a lot of money betting on that outcome happening very often. Heck, you’d make more money selling unicorn pelts.

Baseball.

Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay lead newcomers on the 2019 Hall of Fame ballot

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The Baseball Hall of Fame has released its ballot for 2019.

The newcomers to the ballot, two of whom I presume will be first-ballot inductees, include Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay:

  • Roy Halladay
  • Todd Helton
  • Andy Pettitte
  • Mariano Rivera
  • Rick Ankiel
  • Jason Bay
  • Lance Berkman
  • Freddy Garcia
  • Jon Garland
  • Travis Hafner
  • Ted Lilly
  • Derek Lowe
  • Darren Oliver
  • Roy Oswalt
  • Juan Pierre
  • Placido Polanco
  • Miguel Tejada
  • Vernon Wells
  • Kevin Youkilis
  • Michael Young

Given his PED associations — and the writers’ curious soft touch about them when it comes to him vs. other players who got caught up in that stuff — Pettite will be an interesting case which we will, without question, be talking about more between now and the end of January. There will be more than mere novelty votes thrown at Helton, Berkman, Tejada, Youkilis and Young, but I don’t suspect they’ll make it or even come particularly close. Everyone else will either be one-and-done or receive negligible or even non-existent support.

The holdovers from last year’s ballot, with vote percentage from 2018:

Edgar Martinez (70.4%)
Mike Mussina (63.5%)
Roger Clemens (57.3%)
Barry Bonds (56.4%)
Curt Schilling (51.2%)
Omar Vizquel (37.0%)
Larry Walker (34.1%)
Fred McGriff (23.2%)
Manny Ramirez (22.0%)
Jeff Kent (14.5%)
Gary Sheffield (11.1%)
Billy Wagner (11.1%)
Scott Rolen (10.2%)
Sammy Sosa (7.8%)
Andruw Jones (7.3%)

This is Edgar Martinez’s last year on the ballot. He’s so close to the 75% threshold that one hopes — and suspects — that he’ll get over the line in 2019, especially given that four guys were cleared off the ballot last year. It should be a move-ahead year for Mike Mussina too, who has suffered from criminally low support given his numbers and the era in which they came. That Jack Morris is now in should further strengthen his case given that he was a far, far better pitcher than Morris.

The rest of the candidates all either have long-discussed PED-associations that should prevent them from getting the required support, were too far out in vote totals last year to expect them to spring to 75% support in a single ballot or are Curt Schilling, who basically everyone hates.

Results of the voting will be revealed on January 22nd and, of course, we’ll be talking at length about this year’s ballot over the next two months. At the outset, though, I’ll go with a gut prediction: Rivera, Halladay, Martinez and Mussina will be inducted.

Your predictions start now.