Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge top fan vote, while Nats, Astros each put 3 in All-Star Game starting lineups

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Monday, July 3, 2017

The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals have the two largest division leads in baseball and have been rewarded by the fans, as each squad had three players voted to be starters at next week's All-Star Game in Miami.

Fans voted for three position players each from the Nats and Astros, with second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa and outfielder George Springer representing AL West-leading Houston. Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, second baseman Daniel Murphy and outfielder Bryce Harper, who led all players in votes, each got the starting nod from fans.

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart and outfielders Charlie Blackmon (Rockies) and Marcell Ozuna of the host Miami Marlins round out the starting lineup for the NL team.

Curiously, the best team in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers, will not have any All-Stars represented in the starting lineup. However, four players were named as reserves or part of the NL pitching staff.

That isn't the case in the AL, where the Astros' trio will be joined by New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, the AL's leading vote-getter, and injured Los Angeles Angels star and reigning AL MVPMike Trout in the outfield. In addition to Altuve and Correa, the AL infield will be made up of Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak, Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez and Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez in the infield.

"I've got to call my family and tell them to book a flight to Miami," Judge said Sunday. "They're going to be excited."

The Indians and Yankees joined the Astros in having a total of five players named to the AL roster, with both Cleveland and New York adding two reserves and two pitchers.

In addition to outfield starter Judge, the Yankees saw catcher Gary Sanchez, second baseman Starlin Castroand pitchers Luis Severino and Dellin Betances chosen to be part of the AL All-Star team. Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, outfielder Michael Brantleyand pitchers Corey Kluber and Andrew Miller will join teammate Jose Ramirez in Miami.

Pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. were named to the roster to give Houston its five All-Stars.

In the National League, only the Nats had five players make the roster, as right-handers Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg were selected.

Last year's kings of the All-Star roster, the Chicago Cubs, got just one player on the NL roster (reliever Wade Davis) but have a shot at a second, as third baseman Kris Bryant is one of the five finalists for the NL's Final Vote. Bryant is vying with Miami's Justin Bour, Washington's Anthony Rendon, Colorado's Mark Reynolds and the Dodgers' Justin Turner for the final spot on the NL team.

"Frankly, we haven't had many guys who were all that deserving," Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta said Sunday.

The battle for the American League's last position is among Texas' Elvis Andrus, Boston's Xander Bogaerts, the Yankees' Didi Gregorius, Kansas City's Mike Moustakas and Tampa Bay's Logan Morrison.

This year's class of All-Stars features 12 first-timers, which is the most since the vote was turned over to fans in 1970.

The All-Star Game will be played Tuesday, July 11, in Miami with Joe Maddon (Cubs) managing the National League team and Terry Francona (Indians) serving as the American League manager.

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