PHILADELPHIA -- Chase Utley is a near lock to make the National League All-Star team with his commanding lead in voting among second basemen, but Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon could be a candidate.
Papelbon is 2-1 with a 1.48 ERA and 18 saves in 20 opportunities. His ERA ranks 13th out of 76 qualified NL relievers entering Thursday, and it's the third lowest among relievers with 10 or more save opportunities. He is on pace for his lowest ERA since he pitched for the Red Sox in 2009 (1.85 ERA). Papelbon also has a 0.99 WHIP, which is his lowest since 2011 (0.93).
But Papelbon faces a tough battle with Milwaukee's Francisco Rodriguez (25 saves, 2.29 ERA), St. Louis' Trevor Rosenthal (23 saves, 3.13 ERA), Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel (22 saves, 2.37 ERA), San Diego's Huston Street (20 saves, 0.96 ERA), Miami's Steve Cishek (18 saves, 1.93 ERA), Washington's Rafael Soriano (18 saves, 1.13 ERA) and Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman (14 saves, 2.57 ERA).
Papelbon is a five-time All-Star, including once with the Phillies in 2012.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jalaymance. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less