The A’s and Angels are all square again at the very top of the American League West standings.
Jon Lester struck out seven Anaheim batters and allowed just one run on five hits over seven innings, and Coco Crisp scored the go-ahead tally on an eighth-inning wild pitch as Oakland took down the visiting Halos 2-1 on Saturday. A’s closer Sean Doolittle closed it out for his 20th save of 2014.
Including Sunday’s series finale — which will pit Scott Kazmir against Jered Weaver on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball — the two teams meet eight more times this season. Can the Angels survive the loss of Garrett Richards? Do the Athletics have enough offense without Yoenis Cespedes?
It should continue to be an interesting race as August turns to September.
Your box scores and recaps from Saturday …
White Sox 3, Yankees 5
Rays 4, Blue Jays 5 (10 innings)
Tigers 4, Twins 12 (Game 1)
Mariners 7, Red Sox 3
Orioles 2, Cubs 7
Giants 2, Nationals 6
Astros 2, Indians 3
Pirates 10, Brewers 2
Royals 6, Rangers 3
Padres 2, Diamondbacks 5
Cardinals 6, Phillies 5 (12 innings)
Braves 0, Reds 1
Tigers 8, Twins 6 (Game 2)
Angels 1, Athletics 2
Mets 4, Dodgers 7
Marlins 4, Rockies 5 (13 innings)
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: