Andrew McCutchen's game and his team are on the rise. Yet the Pirates center fielder's All-Star campaign strangely is going in the opposite direction.
McCutchen has been disproportionately responsible for driving the Bucs atop the National League Central, but even as he continued to move up among the league leaders, he slipped in the voting for the All-Star Game.
With 728,522 votes in the latest voting update released on Tuesday afternoon, McCutchen ranks No. 11 among NL outfielders. A week ago, he was No. 10 -- already a call for Pirates fans to rush into the virtual voting booths.
The Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez is barely ahead of McCutchen for 10th place among NL outfielders with 728,903 votes. Matt Kemp leads all NL outfielders with 2,589,464 votes.
There are no booths, of course, only ballots with boxes next to McCutchen's name waiting to be crossed out.
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 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, June 28, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Fans can also once again participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby. The 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 9.
The 2012 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 1, on the 2012 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2012 All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday, July 10. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.
Conspiracy theorists may well buy into the notion that left-handers have taken over McCutchen's campaign, with every intent of sabotaging it. They want him nowhere near Kansas City on July 10.
Among McCutchen's glaring numbers is his Major League-leading .463 average against southpaws, a significant ingredient in his overall numbers of .325, with 11 homers and 36 RBIs, entering Tuesday night's game in Baltimore.
The absence of other Pirates on the positional leader boards makes sense, considering McCutchen's principal allies in the Pirates' contention have been pitchers who are not part of the voting process. But McCutchen's standing defies logic.
Pirates fans know he will be in Kansas City on July 10. Already being talked about as an MVP candidate, he would surely be added as an NL All-Star reserve for the second straight summer. Might as well take that extra step and get him into the starting lineup.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.