With just more than three weeks left before this year's Midsummer Classic on July 15 in Minneapolis, voting for some National League starting spots in the 2014 All-Star Game is still too close to call. Troy Tulowitzki and Chase Utley both appear as though they'll have nods for the NL side at shortstop and second base, respectively. However, there are still plenty of votes to be cast and fans have until 11:59 p.m. ET on July 3 to cast their votes. Here's a look at the five closest NL races as time to vote winds down:
1. Yadier Molina, Cardinals - 2,003,557
2. Buster Posey, Giants - 1,414,363
3. Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers - 1,138,212
An All-Star every season since 2009, Molina is the catcher to catch in the NL. The Brewers are trying a new approach with campaign-like attack ads, and Lucroy is doing his part on the field, as he (.338/.404/.534) has the best line of any of the three candidates, but he still needs to jump Posey and needs more than 800,000 votes to catch Molina.
1. Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs - 1,291,052
2. Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers - 1,049,222
3. Freddie Freeman, Braves - 920, 361
Goldschmidt has the advantage in the numbers. His 15 homers, 52 RBIs and .902 OPS are better than both Gonzalez and Freeman in each category, and he also has the voting advantage. However, it's still possible for Gonzalez or Freeman to make a late push, as both trail by less than 375,000 votes.
1. David Wright, Mets - 1,051,640
2. Pablo Sandoval, Giants - 973,221
3. Nolan Arenado, Rockies - 895,905
It's not much of a surprise that Wright and Sandoval -- two of the best-known NL third basemen -- are leading the pack. But Arenado would be a new face to the All-Star Game, and he has a good case to do so, even though he's on the disabled list. He's played about 20 fewer games than both Wright and Sandoval, but his .305 average and .823 OPS are the best of the trio.
1. Yasiel Puig, Dodgers - 1,942,701
2. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates - 1,727,534
3. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins - 1,659,430
4. Carlos Gomez, Brewers - 1,628,401
5. Ryan Braun, Brewers - 1,388,578
6. Charlie Blackmon, Rockies - 1,352,564
7. Angel Pagan, Giants - 1,055,707
8. Michael Morse, Giants - 1,051,431
It's not certain, but it seems Puig will get his first All-Star appearance and start, but the rest of the NL outfield spots are still toss-ups. McCutchen was on the outside looking in a few weeks ago, but he went on a tear lately, being named the NL Player of the Week and jumping up to second in the voting. If someone else out of the top three can do the same, maybe they can make a similar leap before voting concludes.
1. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays -- 2,906,878
2. Tulowitzki, Rockies -- 2,593,387
3. Mike Trout, Angels -- 2,544,658
Tulowitzki is well ahead as he looks to be the NL starting shortstop, but he's still in the midst of a three-way battle for what player will get the most total votes with a pair of American League outfielders. All three are in the Major League's top 10 in WAR, but Tulo can boast that his 5.2 WAR beats both Bautista (3.7) and Trout (4.5).
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, register on the site in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
Fans this year once again can participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The 2014 Home Run Derby 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 14.
The 2014 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show during the weekend of July 5-6, with further details to follow on MLB.com. Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL All-Star rosters, fans can begin voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each league over the balloting period.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the 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 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, 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 will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less