DENVER -- The Rockies' season has been a wild and pleasantly unexpected ride so far, and another twist could happen in the next few days of National League voting on the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot: Third baseman Nolan Arenado has closed a gap behind Cubs third baseman and defending
DENVER -- The Rockies' season has been a wild and pleasantly unexpected ride so far, and another twist could happen in the next few days of National League voting on the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot: Third baseman Nolan Arenado has closed a gap behind Cubs third baseman and defending NL Most Valuable Player Kristopher Bryant.
In the final balloting update released Monday, Arenado, who began his year by helping Team USA win the World Baseball Classic and recently has been involved in Rockies wins that could become iconic if the team goes to the playoffs and beyond, is just 58,082 votes behind Bryant to start the 88th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard.
And Rockies fans, who have seen their team become a surprise NL West contender, could help pull off another shocker.
• Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Arenado and other #ASGWorthy players
Center fielder Charlie Blackmon is second among outfielders, which puts him in line to be the first Rockies player voted to the starting lineup since shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in 2014. Blackmon is about a half-million votes behind the Nationals' Bryce Harper, a former NL MVP. Could the voting push for Arenado become a strong enough two-man ticket to push Blackmon past Harper? That will be up to the voters.
Arenado, a four-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner and two-time All-Star who is seeking his first start, increased his candidacy with a pair of big games. He not only hit for the cycle on June 18, but he became the first player in Major League history to complete a cycle with a walk-off homer with the team behind at the time of the at-bat in a 7-5 victory over the Giants at Coors Field.
Two days later, Arenado's two-run triple in the eighth inning gave the Rockies a 4-3 home victory over the D-backs.
Blackmon leads the Rockies and is sixth in the NL in batting at .321, and his 43 extra-base hits are second in the league -- to Arenado's 46.
Additionally, second baseman DJ LeMahieu, last year's NL batting champ, is third among second basemen with 621,188 votes, behind the Nationals' Daniel Murphy at 3,057,360, and the Cubs' Javier Baez at 1,654,829.
Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday at 9:59 p.m. MT. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB.com At Bat and MLB.com Ballpark mobile apps.
The Esurance All-Star Selection Show will take place on Sunday at 5 p.m. MT on ESPN. Following the unveiling of the 2017 All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player on each league's All-Star roster. Then on Tuesday, July 11, while watching the 2017 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 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
The 88th Midsummer Classic, at Marlins Park in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM will have comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @AllStarGame on social media.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**.