McCutchen, Walker vying for All-Star votes

McCutchen, Walker vying for All-Star votes

When the player introductions take place prior to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis on July 15, wouldn't it be cool if Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker were in the starting lineup for the National League squad?

Well Pirates fans, you can help make that happen simply by voting for them -- often.

In fact, you can vote 25 times online with the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot, which is also available on your mobile phone via the MLB.com At Bat app. Simply log in and vote with your MLB.com account, and you can cast up to 10 more ballots for McCutchen, Walker and all of your favorite Buccos. That's a total of 35 ballots.

Online voting will end on July 3 at 11:59 p.m. ET. In addition to online voting, traditional ballots are available during all Pirates games at PNC Park through June 26.

McCutchen, the reigning NL Most Valuable Player, has been a member of the All-Star squad in each of the past three seasons. However, he has yet to be voted in as a starter. The last Pirate to do that was outfielder Jason Bay in 2006, when the game was played at PNC Park.

Through his first 59 games this season, McCutchen was hitting .301 with seven homers and 28 RBIs, despite the fact that the opposition was frequently pitching around him -- as evidenced by his league-high 44 walks. Cutch was also leading the Pirates in hits (66), doubles (16) and runs scored (31) at that point.

McCutchen reminded the nation what he's capable of when he smacked a pair of doubles and a home run off one of baseball's premier pitchers -- Zack Greinke -- in a 5-3 victory at Dodger Stadium on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball on June 1. He also made a spectacular sliding catch in center field that night to stave off a late-inning rally by Los Angeles.

McCutchen needs you to vote for him as many times as possible to increase his chances of landing a spot in the All-Star starting lineup. Other NL outfielders who are polling well include Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers, Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins and Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies.

Walker, who is in his fifth year as Pittsburgh's starting second baseman, is headed toward his finest season ever. Through 60 games, the switch-hitting former first-round Draft pick was leading all NL second basemen with 11 home runs and all Major League second basemen with 35 RBIs, while batting a healthy .280.

Walker underwent an appendectomy procedure Monday, and was placed on the 15-day DL.

The pride of Pine-Richland High School in nearby Gibsonia, Pa., was also hitting .340 with runners in scoring position (18-for-53) at that point, and had committed only one error in the field all season.

Despite the impressive showing, Walker needs Pirates fans to cast the maximum number of ballots allowed to help him beat out other high-performing second basemen -- like Chase Utley of the Phillies, Dee Gordon of the Dodgers and Anthony Rendon of the Nationals. The last Pirates second baseman to make the All-Star team was Freddy Sanchez in 2009, and no Pittsburgh second baseman has started the Midsummer Classic since Bill Mazeroski in 1967.

So remember to vote for McCutchen, Walker and all of your Pirates up to 35 times each. Tuning in to watch the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on FOX will be much more enjoyable with them in the starting lineup.

Jim Lachimia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.