MIAMI -- Ryan Zimmerman still leads all first basemen in voting for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game presented by MasterCard for the third consecutive week, but he may need help if he's going to hold off Anthony Rizzo for the starting job in Miami.Zimmerman leads Rizzo by about 157,000
MIAMI -- Ryan Zimmerman still leads all first basemen in voting for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game presented by MasterCard for the third consecutive week, but he may need help if he's going to hold off Anthony Rizzo for the starting job in Miami.
Zimmerman leads Rizzo by about 157,000 tallies in the fourth Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot fan voting update. Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy, who are the top two vote-getters in the National League, also lead their positions.
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Zimmerman, who made his lone All-Star Game appearance in 2009, is having a redemptive season. The 13-year veteran leads the NL in slugging percentage (.672) and on-base plus slugging (1.063), has the second-best batting average (.349) and is tied for the second-most home runs (19).
"He's very deserving," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "He's not only deserving of the All-Star Game, he's high in the [Most Valuable Player Award] voting. He's definitely in the lead as far as Comeback Player of the Year."
But he may need some help to hold off Rizzo, who made the All-Star Game the past three seasons and is hitting .263 with 16 home runs this year. Rizzo finished fourth in NL MVP Award voting in each of the past two seasons, and he batted .360 in the postseason last year to help the Cubs win the World Series.
Zimmerman is a big reason the Nationals (42-27) sit in first place in the NL East by a commanding 10.5-game lead.
"He's been everything to us," Baker said.
Harper has received 2.8 million votes, while Murphy has collected 2.3 million. Charlie Blackmon is the only other NL player to obtain more than two million votes.
Harper is in line for his fifth All-Star Game in six Major League seasons. Murphy, who has the third-best batting average in the NL (.345), is going for his second straight All-Star Game and third of his career.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon, shortstop Trea Turner and catcher Matt Wieters are also ranked in the top five for votes at their positions.
Baker said having so many players in the hunt for a Midsummer Classic starting spot is a testament to not only Nationals fans, but the performance of his players.
"That's telling that we have a lot of people paying attention to us. We have a lot of fans, we have a lot of knowledgable baseball fans out there that are paying attention," he said. "That's what that means to me. They're not just voting on names. A lot of times people vote on names. But they're voting on names and also voting on the fact that we have guys that are playing well."
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, June 29, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB.com At Bat and MLB.com Ballpark mobile apps. Vote up to five times in any 24-hour period for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.
Following the announcement 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.
Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami.