Richards needs push in AL Final Vote race

Right-hander in second place behind White Sox ace Sale after first voting update

Richards needs push in AL Final Vote race

ANAHEIM -- Garrett Richards still needs your help.

In the first American League Final Vote balloting update released Tuesday morning, Richards was in second place behind Chicago's Chris Sale. Richards led Detroit's Rick Porcello, Cleveland's Corey Kluber and Houston's Dallas Keuchel.

Richards' Angels teammates have done their part, donning black T-shirts Tuesday evening during batting practice before the club's matchup with the Blue Jays that read "#VoteGRich '14 All-Star" with a large No. 43 printed on the back.

"I think it's one indication that our guys are tight in there," manager Mike Scioscia said. "They support each other. They understand the great honor it is to play in an All-Star Game. I think that they truly have a feeling of being part of it if somebody on our team goes. They'll experience that with Mike [Trout] and hopefully get a chance to experience it with Garrett."

Scioscia said he has punched his ballot for Richards.

"I have voted, and that's why I can wear this," Scioscia said.

Richards has, as expected, cornered the Southern California market, earning 96.8 percent of the votes in Orange County and 83.4 percent of the votes in Los Angeles County. But Richards is also receiving 71.2 percent of the votes in New Jersey's Cumberland County, where teammate Mike Trout is from.

In Oklahoma's Cleveland County, where Richards attended the University of Oklahoma, he is in second place behind Porcello.

The Angels formed an alliance with Atlanta -- and outfielder Justin Upton -- but Richards has received only 29.4 percent of the vote in Fulton County, where Turner Field is located. Upton was in third place in the National League.

In his first full season as a starter, Richards has been dominant, holding batters to a league-low .196 batting average while posting a 2.71 ERA and 119 strikeouts.

Almost halfway until Thursday afternoon's deadline, more than 15 million votes have already been cast.

Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL All-Star rosters on Sunday, fans began voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until the winners are announced after the voting concludes on Thursday at 1 p.m. PT.

Fans can also cast votes on the mobile web at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the Final Vote ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text their choice to 89269. For example: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Standard message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available, and fans should text their choices to 101010.

For the third consecutive year, the All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote will include social balloting participation, as Twitter support from the 10 candidates' fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their final vote totals. From 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. PT on Thursday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners. Fans will be able to follow @MLB for the latest standings updates over the course of the entire four-day voting period.

The hashtags and text designations are as follows:
AL nominees
Dallas Keuchel: #VoteKeuchel (A1)
Corey Kluber: #VoteKluber (A2)
Rick Porcello: #PickRick (A3)
Garrett Richards: #VoteGRich (A4)
Chris Sale: #TargetSale (A5)

NL nominees
Casey McGehee: #VoteHitsMcGehee (N1)
Justin Morneau: #VoteMorneau (N2)
Anthony Rendon: #VoteRendon (N3)
Anthony Rizzo: #VoteRizzo (N4)
Justin Upton: #VoteJUp (N5)

The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again allow fans to help choose the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and via Twitter in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

MLB.TV Premium subscribers, for the first time, will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 platforms that support MLB.TV, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Matthew DeFranks is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MDeFranks. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.