The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry has been renewed in a big way this season, with the two storied squads carrying the two best records in baseball in an American League East battle that might go down to the wire. Unsurprisingly, the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot voters have noticed.
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In the first AL voting update released Tuesday, the Yankees and Red Sox were the only clubs with multiple players on pace to start the 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday, July 17, at Nationals Park in Washington. Boston and New York each had two such players, and Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts has more votes than any other player in the Majors.
• National League All-Star voting update
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Here are the latest AL results, highlighted by particularly close races at catcher and first base:
Video: Must C Clutch: Sanchez belts a walk-off homer to left
1. Gary Sanchez, Yankees: 336,280
2. Wilson Ramos, Rays: 320,969
3. Brian McCann, Astros: 174,661
4. Salvador Perez, Royals: 144,457
5. Martin Maldonado, Angels: 94,928
Perez will need a lot of help if he's going to extend his All-Star starting streak to five. Sanchez (.190/.291/.430, 12 homers, 35 RBIs) and Ramos (.285/.329/.435, seven homers, 30 RBIs) are the only AL catchers with enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title, and they are separated by fewer than 16,000 votes, making this the closest of any of the AL races so far.
Video: CWS@DET: Abreu homers, collects 3 XBH in 4-hit effort
1. Jose Abreu, White Sox: 267,812
2. Mitch Moreland, Red Sox: 241,889
3. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 173,174
4. Albert Pujols, Angels: 155,219
5. Yuli Gurriel, Astros: 154,363
In a down year for AL first-base production overall, Abreu has asserted himself with a .290/.350/.512 slash line, 10 homers, 25 doubles and 38 RBIs. But Moreland, having rather recently taken over the full-time duties at first base after the Red Sox designated Hanley Ramirez for assignment, is giving Abreu close competition, and likely future Hall of Famers Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols are getting some legacy love here.
Video: Must C Clutch: Altuve leads Astros rally in the 8th
1. Jose Altuve, Astros: 701,236
2. Gleyber Torres, Yankees: 279,810
3. Dee Gordon, Mariners: 87,647
4. Jed Lowrie, A's: 70,454
5. Jason Kipnis, Indians: 68,151
Altuve, the reigning AL MVP Award winner, has caught fire in recent weeks (.455/.486/.682 since May 25) and is fending off a charge from the rookie Torres, who has a .915 OPS through 145 at-bats and is one of the game's burgeoning young stars.
Video: MIL@CLE: Ramirez clubs 19th home run of the season
1. Jose Ramirez, Indians: 443,234
2. Miguel Andujar, Yankees: 219,691
3. Alex Bregman, Astros: 180,911
4. Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 121,403
5. Mike Moustakas, Royals: 112,150
Ramirez made a late surge in the voting last year to earn his first All-Star start and appearance. This year, he's in the pole position from the early going, with the fans taking note of a .995 OPS that is far and away the best at this position, and he also has 19 homers and 19 doubles.
Video: Must C Combo: Machado hits 2 HRs, flashes leather
1. Manny Machado, Orioles: 321,887
2. Francisco Lindor, Indians: 211,756
3. Didi Gregorius, Yankees: 208,583
4. Carlos Correa, Astros: 206,727
5. Andrelton Simmons, Angels:135,562
In probably the deepest position on the ballot, Machado is getting a ton of support from fans who know his days in Baltimore could be numbered. He's had a sensational start in his return to shortstop (.312/.380/.591, 18 HRs, 50 RBIs) to help his trade value and his vote total. Lindor, with an .885 OPS and 35 extra-base hits, is Machado's closest competition.
Video: KC@BOS: Betts slugs 3 home runs in as many at-bats
1. Mookie Betts, Red Sox: 748,872
2. Mike Trout, Angels: 639,822
3. Aaron Judge, Yankees: 541,983
4. Michael Brantley, Indians: 238,659
5. George Springer, Astros: 225,316
6. Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox: 208,837
7. Brett Gardner, Yankees: 160,123
8. Marwin Gonzalez, Astros: 132,961
9. Nicholas Castellanos, Tigers: 124,676
10. Josh Reddick, Astros: 124,340
11. Aaron Hicks, Yankees: 119,660
12. Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox: 105,821
13. Mitch Haniger, Mariners: 100,149
14. Eddie Rosario, Twins: 92,271
15. Tyler Naquin, Indians: 63,725
The only mystery here was and is in which order Betts, Trout and Judge will finish in the voting, because there was no doubt that their big seasons in big markets would profile well at the polls. Betts doesn't only lead this group, but all players in batting average (.354), OPS (1.167) and votes. Trout is in good position to be voted in as a starter for a sixth straight season (and appear on the AL roster for a seventh straight), though he missed last year's game with a thumb injury. Judge says he won't be defending his T-Mobile Home Run Derby title, but he's on track to start the Midsummer Classic for the second time in his second full season.
Video: TOR@BOS: Martinez smashes 434-foot homer at 111.7 mph
1. J.D. Martinez, Red Sox: 513,415
2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees: 231,885
3. Shohei Ohtani, Angels: 218,981
4. Evan Gattis, Astros: 155,091
5. Edwin Encarnacion, Indians: 119,526
Any curiosity as to whether the two-way talent Ohtani could overtake the likes of Martinez and Stanton in the voting at this position was dismissed when Ohtani was diagnosed with an ulnar collateral ligament sprain last week. Martinez is a deserving leader here, having accrued a .311/.373/.643 slash line, a Major League-leading 21 homers (tied with Trout) and 54 RBIs in his first season in Boston.
Fans may cast votes at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot until Thursday, July 5, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour period, for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.
Following the announcement of this year's All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Final Vote for the final player on each league's roster. Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans may visit MLB.com to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.
For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.
Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.