Texas Rangers

Is Josh Hamilton a 2011 All-Star?

Silver Boot secured? Check.

First place in the AL West? Check.

Representation in next month's MLB All-Star Game? Che ... Not so fast.

While Ian Kinsler's first two-homer game in almost two years lifted the Rangers over the Astros, 3-2, and gave them an intrastate five-peat, Texas may wind up with no starters in the July 12 All-Star Game in Phoenix. Manager Ron Washington will be in charge of the AL team, but if any of his players are there he might have to hand pick 'em as a reserve in conjunction with player balloting.

The AL East holds the lead at almost every position. And that object closing fast in Josh Hamilton's mirror is the Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.

Voting ends tonight at 10:59. The teams will be unveiled Sunday morning at 11 on TBS.

Will Josh hang on? Does he deserve to hang on?

Of course he does.

Hamilton and Ellsbury have similar stats, but Josh has played in 35 fewer games. Ellsbury does lead the AL in stolen bases.

Player       G     AVG  HR  RBI  2B   SB

Hamilton    43    .290     8     36   12     4

Ellsbury     78    .296     9     39   22    25

Hamilton and Ellsbury have stood respectively at Nos. 3 and 4 -- behind Toronto's Jose Bautista and the Yankees' Curtis Granderson -- since June 12. But over the past two weeks Josh's lead has dwindled from 351,624 to 121,325. Ellsbury has received 21 percent more online votes than Hamilton over the last 72 hours.

Josh is a better player. He's a more popular story. And, besides, the All-Star Game will be played at night. So, despite his claims, his blue eyes shouldn't be a liability.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt