The deadline for fans to vote for the All-Star Game was 11:59 p.m. Thursday night, and barring some ballot-stuffing that hasn’t been seen before, Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee is going to need the support of his peers in the player vote to earn a trip to the Midsummer Classic.
Statistically, McGehee has as strong an argument as any Marlin not named Giancarlo Stanton to earn an invite to Minneapolis for the July 15 game. He entered the series finale against the Phillies on Thursday third in the National League in hits (100), tied for seventh in RBI (49) and hitting a NL-best .398 with runners in scoring position.
The last Marlin to have at least 100 hits 84 games into the season was Hanley Ramirez in 2009. Ramirez, selected by the fans as an All-Star starter that season, also had 14 homers at the break.
And that’s a number not lost on McGehee. He knows if he had more than one home run through his first 84 games he would probably have been on the radar in the fan vote.
“That’s the cool number kids, anybody voting likes to see. I get it from that standpoint,” McGehee said. “But my job isn’t to make All-Star teams. My job is to try to help this team win. Like any sport, there are guys that try to do the small things to help their team and make a big difference.
“For me to be back in the big leagues is rewarding enough as it is. If in December when I signed you had asked anybody if I’d be having this conversation — myself included — I wouldn’t have taken the bet. Just to be in the conversation it means a lot to me. I couldn’t ask for a better start to the season. Make it or not [to the All-Star Game], it’s not going to change my approach and what I try to accomplish the second half of the season.”
How many more homers does McGehee think he would have if he wasn’t playing the majority of his games in spacious Marlins Park? “Eight or nine,” he said.
“I think there are some ballparks where they would get out and others where they were borderline homers, but it’s not where we’re playing,” McGehee continued. “Honestly I have no complaints about the ballpark because I love playing here. For my game it works well for me. It’s fast. The outfield is big. Infield is pretty fast. So you get rewarded for hitting the ball hard. That’s all you can do as a hitter anyway.”
McGehee said hitting few homers in the first half of the season are nothing new for him. He said that in the minors it happened to him all the time. “I’d go into the All-Star break with two and I’d finish up with 10 or 12 or whatever,” he said.
What has made McGehee happy are moments like the one in the fifth inning Tuesday. With a runner on second, the score tied at 2 and first base open with one out, the Phillies elected to pitch to Stanton instead of intentionally walking him to face McGehee. Stanton, who leads the National League with 15 intentional walks, drove in the go-ahead run.
“It makes me feel like I’ve helped him a little bit,” McGehee said. “By no means do I deserve any of the credit for what he’s done. But just the more opportunities he gets the better off we are as a team. To me, that’s gratifying enough.”Carter Capps Brent Keys Donnie Joseph