In a race involving millions of votes, the decision for two of the coveted three outfield spots in the National League's starting lineup for the All-Star Game might be coming down to a difference of hundreds.
With the voting clock ticking, Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies entered the realm of the magic three spots in the most recent voting update by vaulting up to the No. 2 position behind the Cardinals' Carlos Beltran. But with only days remaining in balloting, Gonzalez's status as a starter is not set, and a final frenzy of voting could change everything.
Right behind Gonzalez and current No. 3 vote-getter Justin Upton of the Braves is the Nationals' Bryce Harper, and within striking distance are the Cardinals' Matt Holliday and the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen as voting heads toward its Thursday night conclusion.
Another race becoming tighter down the stretch based on voting results announced Tuesday is at second base, where the Reds' Brandon Phillips is trying to hold off the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter and the Giants' Marco Scutaro.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals' Yadier Molina extended his lead over Buster Posey not only for the starting spot at catcher, but for the overall NL lead, with 5,093,645 votes and counting. Joey Votto, Phillips' teammate, retains his lead at first base, the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki holds the lead at shortstop and David Wright of the host Mets is pulling away at third base as time ticks away before the polls close.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on mobile devices -- using the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Fans may submit 25 online ballots during the voting period but can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, fans must be logged into an MLB.com account when submitting any online ballot. To obtain an account, visit MLB.com and register in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free account.
Cardinals fans have made their votes count this year, and Molina's sensational first half is being rewarded with a voting tally that has him poised to make the start for the July 16 All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York. After battling Posey neck-and-neck since voting began, Molina has pulled ahead to lead the reigning NL Most Valuable Player by more than 400,000 votes. In fact, Beltran surpassed Posey as the No. 2 vote-getter in the league, with his 5,013,806 leading the outfield race by a mile.
But after that, the outfield race is up for grabs. There's Gonzalez (2,928,606) making the leap to No. 2, but the two who owned the top spots early in the process -- Upton (2,917,659) and Harper (2,902,393) -- are dangerously close. With the potentially explosive dynamics of the final days of voting, Holliday (2,697,608) and McCutchen (2,510,614) can't be counted out, either.
Another race that has tightened up is at second base, where Phillips has been in position to make his first All-Star start and still leads with 3,411,839 votes. But Carpenter (3,186,423) and Scutaro (3,142,783) have slowly worked their way into striking distance.
Votto (3,622,608) leads the D-backs' Paul Goldschmidt, and Tulowitzki (4,072,834) is comfortably ahead at shortstop while he hopes to be off the disabled list in time for what would be his second start in three All-Star appearances.
Meanwhile, Wright has emerged with a solid lead in his quest to represent the home team at third base, with his total of 4,452,282 votes putting him 842,186 ahead of the Giants' Pablo Sandoval.
Millions of votes have been counted already, but there's room in the ballot box for more -- and there are more ways to vote than selecting the starting lineups.
Fans can also once again participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league whom they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The 2013 Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 15.
Though originally scheduled for Sunday, the 2013 rosters will now be unveiled Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell. The show will be televised nationally on FOX.
From Saturday through Thursday, July 11, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com for the final player for each league's All-Star roster.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
NATIONAL LEAGUE ALL-STAR VOTING
(as of July 2)
Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 5,093,645
Buster Posey, Giants: 4,674,847
John Buck, Mets: 1,446,565
Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks: 997,791
Brian McCann, Braves: 997,322
Joey Votto, Reds: 3,622,608
Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks: 3,035,114
Allen Craig, Cardinals: 2,525,399
Brandon Belt, Giants: 1,804,152
Freddie Freeman, Braves: 1,494,604
Brandon Phillips, Reds: 3,411,839
Matt Carpenter, Cardinals: 3,186,423
Marco Scutaro, Giants: 3,142,783
Daniel Murphy, Mets: 1,598,297
Chase Utley, Phillies: 1,355,750
David Wright, Mets: 4,452,282
Pablo Sandoval, Giants: 3,610,096
David Freese, Cardinals: 2,376,121
Chris Johnson, Braves: 1,234,095
Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals: 1,072,563
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 4,072,834
Brandon Crawford, Giants: 2,383,248
Jean Segura, Brewers: 2,072,083
Pete Kozma, Cardinals: 1,867,781
Andrelton Simmons, Braves: 1,192,066
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals: 5,013,806
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies: 2,928,606
Justin Upton, Braves: 2,917,659
Bryce Harper, Nationals: 2,902,393
Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 2,697,608
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: 2,510,614
Hunter Pence, Giants: 2,379,606
Ryan Braun, Brewers: 2,331,774
Angel Pagan, Giants: 2,016,370
Shin-Soo Choo, Reds: 1,960,385
Jon Jay, Cardinals: 1,825,513
Carlos Gomez, Brewers: 1,746,318
Gregor Blanco, Giants: 1,717,194
Jay Bruce, Reds: 1,454,721
Domonic Brown, Phillies: 1,427,696
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less