Jeff McNeill of the Mets wins the Premier League batting title while sitting on the bench at the end

New York — Jeff McNeillwho was left out of the New York Mets’ squad in their late 9-2 win over Washington on Wednesday, officially won the National League title after the Los Angeles Dodgers. Freddy Freeman He came up short in his attempt to beat McNeil on the last day of the regular season.

Buck Showalter, the Mets manager, said it was his decision to sit McNeill as New York geared up for a wild card playoff series against the San Diego Padres that begins Friday night.

“I wouldn’t put that on it,” Showalter said. “The most important thing is Friday. Everything else comes second.”

McNeil held a four-point lead in the big league batting race, got into defense in the eighth inning but didn’t make it to the plate and finished averaging 326 which is the highest in the leagues—one point ahead of Freeman.

“One of my goals in baseball is to win the batting team,” said McNeill, who topped 0.300 three times before slipping back to 0.251 last year. “I wanted to get back to where I am now.”

Freeman needed to go 4-4 against the Colorado Rockies in order to catch McNeill, Freeman doubled down and slipped on his first two hits at the bat, but flying to the warning track in midfield for fifth ended his hopes.

“I was definitely paying attention to what was going on,” McNeill said of watching Freeman during the rain delay. “Watched Freddy’s first hit in the middle, and didn’t see the second. … Shocked Homer and got a little nervous, he swings the racket really well, and with Freddy Freeman, four strokes is normal for him. On his third racket, quite a few of us were sitting in the locker room The clothes are watching him. He put a good hammock on him and he was lucky that one of them stayed in the garden.”

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Freeman averaged .325 for the season and finished with 199 base strokes and 100 base strokes. Freeman’s 393-foot drive to the left tied Game 1 – all with two wins for third. Singles in a run in the seventh.

“I was close,” Freeman said. “I’ve tried it.”

McNeil becomes the first Mets player to lead the major teams in batting. Minnesota Louis Araz He won the AL batting crown with an average of 0.316, making him his first-time batting champion in both leagues.

Colleague Francisco Lindor He had previously told McNeill that he would give him a car if he won the batting title. Lindor could not remember what prompted his automatic promise.

“It’s rare for McNeill to be angry,” Lindor said. “And I just said, ‘If I win the batting title, I’ll give you a car.’ He has a car. I didn’t specify what car it was.”

“I hope it’s something cool,” McNeill said.

Jose Reyes is the only former Mets player in franchise history to win a batting title in the Premier League, when he reached 0.337 in 2011. Reyes drew criticism that year when he opened the end of the season with a single, then left the game to protect his lead.

Hall of Fame player Ted Williams was best known for playing both games with a double header on the final day of the 1941 campaign when sitting outside the field would have ensured a batting average of 400. Williams went 6 for 8 to finish at .406, making him the last major rider to hit .400.

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But players who sit down on the last day of the season to keep stats or individual achievements hardly unheard of – especially when resting in the playoffs.

McNeill hits .287 was entering play on July 30, leaving far behind Freeman (.319) and the St. Louis Cardinals. Paul Goldschmidt (.334). But the 30-year-old McNeil, a two-time All-Star, has hit .378 since Freeman .327 and Goldschmidt .288.

The .243 overall major league hit average was the lowest since a record low of 0.237 in 1968, the last season before bowler hill was taken down. MLB will ban defensive shifts starting next year, a move likely to help hitters.

John Lee of ESPN and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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