NL East race reflected in All-Star votes
Utley leaps Pujols for top vote-getter; Wright leading at third
The latest score in the battle for the NL East: Phillies 3, Mets 2.In potential National League All-Stars, that is.
While the defending World Series-champion Phillies continue to hold down three of the eight starting spots in All-Star voting, the Mets maintain a pair who are in position to start on July 14 in St. Louis.Phillies second baseman Chase Utley drove past Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols for the overall lead with 2,273,355 votes, and the Dodgers' Manny Ramirez, suspended for 50 games for performance-enhancing drug use, slipped down one slot to the No. 6 spot in the outfield race. The Phillies contingent of Utley, shortstop Jimmy Rollins and outfielder Raul Ibanez each continues to lead at his position -- Ibanez maintaining the first of the three spots in outfield voting. While Rollins would need to hold off Florida's Hanley Ramirez, the trio would give the Phillies three All-Star position players for the first time since 1995, when outfielder Lenny Dykstra started and catcher Darren Daulton and second baseman Mickey Morandini were reserves. The rival Mets have two in line -- for the time being, at least. David Wright continues to hold a firm lead at third base, and Carlos Beltran is holding off the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano for a second straight week for the third and final outfield spot. Beltran leads Soriano by fewer than 27,000 votes. The Cardinals also have multiple leaders with Pujols and catcher Yadier Molina staying atop their respective races, and Ryan Braun of the Brewers is holding strong at second in the outfield voting to round out the field. A position-by-position snapshot of the NL: At first base, Pujols continues to dominate, followed by the Phillies' Ryan Howard, the Brewers' Prince Fielder and the Padres' Adrian Gonzalez holding fast in fourth. At second base, Utley held on to the top spot and continues to pull away from the Dodgers' Orlando Hudson, who is second. Hudson is still followed by Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks. At short, the Rollins-Ramirez vote continues to be the tightest around, with Rollins holding an edge of fewer than 88,000 votes. The Brewers' J.J. Hardy remains in third. At third base, Wright continues on pace for his fourth All-Star appearance, with Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals, Chipper Jones of the Braves and Pedro Feliz of the Phillies maintaining their spots behind him. Behind the plate, Molina continues to lead Atlanta's Brian McCann for a second straight week, followed by Jason Kendall of the Brewers. In the outfield, Ibanez continues to lead the way toward making his first-ever All-Star appearance, while Braun is well on his way to a second straight. Beltran will have his hands full trying to hold off Soriano, while the Phillies' Shane Victorino made a move past Ramirez into fifth in the voting. Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote at MLB.com. And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com. The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, The Grind. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.