CINCINNATI -- The Reds have been looking up at the Brewers in the National League Central for much of the season, and while the race figures to go down to the wire, Cincinnati has a chance to score a midseason moral victory later this week -- with help from its fans. Reds first baseman Joey Votto is in third place among All-Star vote-getters at his position, and second baseman Brandon Phillips sits in second at his position. Who stands in their way of starting for the NL in the Midsummer Classic? Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks, who both happen to suit up for Milwaukee. Leaning on the performances of Fielder and Weeks, among others, the Brewers entered Monday leading the NL Central with a 44-35 record. The Reds fell to fourth place in the division over the weekend, but they remain in striking distance, just four games behind Milwaukee.
Last week, Votto was in position to start an All-Star Game for the first time in his career. He was sitting in second place among NL first basemen, behind only Albert Pujols, who will be sidelined for at least another month with a fractured forearm. But Fielder has overcome a 402,052-vote deficit in the last two weeks to leap past Votto into second place. The Brewers' first baseman is now ahead of Votto by 70,727 votes. Phillips, meanwhile, led all NL second basemen throughout June before falling behind Weeks in the latest voting update. Weeks trailed Phillips by 293,489 votes two weeks ago; he now leads the Reds' second baseman by 78,397 votes. Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via your mobile device -- using the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET. Rosters will be announced during the 2011 All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS on July 3. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint. 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 2011 All-Star Game MVP Vote Sponsored by Sprint. The All-Star Game, to be played in Phoenix on July 12, 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. Fielder entered Monday leading all NL first basemen with a 1.037 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, and Votto was third with a .950 OPS. Fielder led the NL with 21 home runs, 10 ahead of Votto, in seventh with 11. Fielder ranked second with 51 walks drawn, 10 behind first-place Votto. Weeks entered Monday sporting an .858 OPS (second at his position), while Phillips sat at .750 (seventh). Weeks also led Phillips in most other hitting categories, but the Cincinnati second baseman has been praised throughout the season for his ever-increasing highlight reel of defensive gems. Cincinnati third baseman Scott Rolen and outfielder Jay Bruce are also in contention for a late surge at their positions. Rolen is in fifth place among third basemen with 1,417,248 votes; Bruce is in sixth place among outfielders with 2,119,267 votes.
Tyler Jett is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.