Royals third baseman, Cardinals right-hander become first-time All-Stars
By Mark Newman
CINCINNATI -- It was a Show Me Statement by baseball fans.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez will be first-time All-Stars on Tuesday via the record-smashing 2015 Esurance All-Star Game Final Vote, meaning the state of Missouri not only has the only two clubs playing at least .600 ball but also a combined 13 selections now that this pair was added Friday to the All-Star team for each league in the 86th All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile at Great American Ball Park.
Moustakas, who led after every day of balloting updates, was reinstated Friday by the Royals from the bereavement/family medical emergency list in time for tonight's game against Toronto in Kansas City. He is tied with All-Star Manny Machado of Baltimore for the lead among AL third basemen with a .301 average, and his OPS of .793 is third among AL third basemen behind only Josh Donaldson and Machado.
"Ned [Yost, his manager] brought everybody around and said that the Royals fans did it again and presented me with my little packet," said Moustakas, who earned 19.3 million of the 111.8 million overall votes cast. "All the boys came up and gave me hugs and told me I deserved it. It was pretty cool."
Moustakas is the first Royals player to win a Final Vote, and he's one of seven Kansas City players chosen for this Midsummer Classic. The group also included fan-elected starters Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez and Alcides Escobar, and relievers Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera. Gordon injured his groin on Wednesday and was replaced by Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner on the roster. Moustakas led in the fan balloting for starters during much of the campaign before he was surpassed down the stretch by Donaldson.
Martinez (10-3, 2.52 ERA) took advantage of his time on the mound to make a big impression on the voters. He shut out the Pirates over 7 1/3 innings in a 4-1 victory on Thursday at PNC Park. That extended Martinez's streak to 10 consecutive quality starts, and not coincidentally, he wound up in the Final Vote lead the next morning.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity and thankful for the fans for voting for me," said Martinez, who received 14.1 million votes. "It's a dream come true."
The Final Vote victory came out of an apparently successful #VoteMo alliance that spoke volumes about the 2015 season so far across the state of Missouri. Whether the Cardinals and Royals can remain on a collision course for a 30th-anniversary rematch of the I-70 Series is, of course, subject to many obstacles. But nothing could get in the way of this combination.
Martinez became the first Dominican player to win the competition. In fact, Martinez bested two other Dominican countrymen on the NL side -- Cueto and Familia -- making it an ongoing challenge for torn voters of that island nation. With a little customary flair, Martinez has had fun campaigning for himself, posting videos on his blog.
During the All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile in Cincinnati on Tuesday, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
The 86th Midsummer Classic will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (coverage begins 7 p.m. ET), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.