Kluber needs support to join Brantley in All-Star Game
Indians right-hander in fourth place in AL Final Vote race on eve of polls closing
CLEVELAND -- The signs are no longer only at Progressive Field. The white sheet with the bright red "K" has been spotted in windows in buildings all around Cleveland. Fans are spreading them throughout the city to spread the word, urging others to keep voting for Indians starter Corey Kluber.
Even the Indians' bullpen featured a handful of the fliers on Tuesday night in a show of display from the team's relief corps.
"We had the 'K' signs in the back," reliever Marc Rzepczynski said. "[Scott Atchison] or [John Axford], it was their idea for the bullpen."
Welcome to Klubeland.
On Wednesday, Kluber still was fourth in the balloting in the MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian, which will send one of five pitchers to the All-Star Game as the final member of the American League's elite squad. One of Cleveland's rivals, White Sox lefty Chris Sale, continues to lead the vote with only one day remaining to check the box with Kluber's name.
The second wave of results had Garrett Richards of the Angels in second place, followed by Rick Porcello of the Tigers, Kluber and Dallas Keuchel of the Astros.
"Obviously, he's a guy I've seen pitch on my team every fifth day," outfielder David Murphy said. "He's got nasty stuff. He's been a bulldog for us this year and I think he's the most deserving out of the five."
Earlier this week, the Indians partnered with the Rockies for a #ClevelandRox campaign, which has paid off on the National League end, considering Colorado first baseman Justin Morneau currently leads the way for the Senior Circuit's Final Vote. Francona spent most of Tuesday morning voting, and Cleveland's players have been donning #VoteKluber shirts in the clubhouse and during batting practice.
During Wednesday night's game against the Yankees, KeyBank sponsored a giveaway for fans at the ballpark, handing out signs with a red "K" to those in attendance to continue the push for Kluber. The signs not only tied into Kluber's last name, but are a symbol of the success he has had this season as Cleveland's resident strikeout artist.
Final Vote candidates
|P||Dallas Keuchel, HOU|
|P||Corey Kluber, CLE|
|P||Rick Porcello, DET|
|P||Garrett Richards, LAA|
|P||Chris Sale, CWS|
|1B||Justin Morneau, COL|
|2B||Anthony Rendon, WAS|
|1B||Anthony Rizzo, CHC|
|3B||Casey McGehee, MIA|
|OF||Justin Upton, ATL|
Heading into Wednesday's action, Kluber ranked fourth in the AL with 137 strikeouts and sixth in the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.57). Among his AL peers, the right-hander also had the fourth-highest innings total (125 2/3 innings) and the eighth-best ERA (2.86). In his most recent start, Kluber struck out 10, walked one and pitched into the ninth inning against the Royals.
"His stuff is unbelievable," Rzepczynski said. "Seeing his stuff and what he's been able to do so far is quite impressive. He's kind of anchored the staff to where us, the relievers, we know every fifth day we're going to not have to work many innings. Any time you get a guy like that that can eat up seven innings, it makes it easier on us."
As of now, outfielder Michael Brantley is Cleveland's only All-Star representative. The Indians are hoping Kluber can join him in Minneapolis for the festivities.
"It would be for all Klubes does, because he does everything we ask," Francona said. "Not everybody can be that good, but the way he does it, he's very respectful, he's a great teammate. Everything we want our guys to embody, that's Klubes. It's the same thing with Brantley. So, if we could help him out, I think that'd be awesome."
Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL All-Star rosters on Sunday, fans began voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until the winners are announced after the voting concludes on today at 4 p.m. ET.
Fans can also cast votes on the mobile web at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the Final Vote ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text their choice to 89269. For example: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Standard message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available, and fans should text their choices to 101010.
For the third consecutive year, the All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote will include social balloting participation, as Twitter support from the 10 candidates' fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their final vote totals. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET today, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners. Fans will be able to follow @MLB for the latest standings updates over the course of the entire four-day voting period.
The hashtags and text designations are as follows:
Keuchel: #VoteKeuchel (A1)
Kluber: #VoteKluber (A2)
Porcello: #PickRick (A3)
Richards: #VoteGRich (A4)
Sale: #TargetSale (A5)
Casey McGehee: #VoteHitsMcGehee (N1)
Morneau: #VoteMorneau (N2)
Anthony Rendon: #VoteRendon (N3)
Anthony Rizzo: #VoteRizzo (N4)
Justin Upton: #VoteJUp (N5)
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again allow fans to help choose 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 and via Twitter in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers, for the first time, will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 platforms that support MLB.TV, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, 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 SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.