The deadline for fans to vote for the All-Star Game is 11:59 p.m. tonight, 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 July 15. He entered the series finale against the Phillies 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 back in 2009. Ramirez, selected by the fans as a 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'd probably would have been much more on the radar of fans.
"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 other 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. Sometimes you go in places like Philly and the outfielders are bunched up on each other and the spacing gets small real quick. There's definitely positives to hitting in a ballpark like this."
McGehee said hitting few homers in the first half of the season are nothing new for him. He said 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.
"I know people like to talk about it and these guys like to give me a hard time about it especially since I've had years where I hit 23 or whatever it was. But to have only one at this point, it really doesn't bother me," McGehee said. "Me and [hitting coach] Frank [Menechino] talked about not trying to hit home runs -- especially in this ballpark. That's one thing I feel like I've done a good job, being consistent not trying to come off my approach even on the road. I think that's helped me to this point being a little more consistent. The trick is going to be trying to continue that."
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 Giancarlo 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."
BABY WATCH CONTINUES
The baby watch continued well into the afternoon Thursday for Tom Koehler and his wife Ashley, manager Mike Redmond said.
"I remember when my wife had our first. We sat there forever and she ended up having a c-section," Redmond said. "So they're in the process of it, but still a ways away. I would expect it to happen today. It's just a matter of what time."
Redmond said Koehler, who went on the paternity list after tossing six scoreless innings and picking up the win against the Phillies Wednesday, is still in line to pitch for the Marlins Monday in Arizona.
Redmond said the reason he pulled Koehler after six innings and 91 pitches Wednesday because "I wanted him to finish that game on a positive note."
"I think the last couple times we've asked him to do more it's been a struggle for him," Redmond said. "They had three or four lefties coming up and it was a good fit for Dunn. I like that matchup better than if we have him go out there and grind it out if he walks a guy or gives up a hit."
> Reliever Carter Capps, who has been on the disabled list since May 27 with a right elbow sprain, will start throwing again in the next couple days, Redmond said.
> The Marlins were able to outright outfielder Brent Keys back to Double A Jacksonville after they designated him for assignment Monday to make room on the 40-man roster after trading for left-hander Donnie Joseph.
> Marlins (41-43): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Ed Lucas SS, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Garrett Jones 1B, 6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 7. Marcell Ozuna CF, 8. Donovan Solano 2B, 9. Brad Hand LHP.
> Phillies (36-48): 1. Ben Revere CF, 2. Jimmy Rollins SS, 3. Chase Utley 2B, 4. Ryan Howard 1B, 5. Marlon Byrd RF, 6. Cesar Hernandez 3B, 7. Aaron Altherr LF, 8. Cameron Rupp C, 9. Kyle Kendrick RHP.