Cubs, Red Sox dominate All-Star Game balloting

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

The All-Star Game belongs to the fans.

And they spoke loud and clear in voting, particularly in Chicago and Boston.

Five Cubs will start for the National League, including the entire infield — first baseman Anthony Rizzo, second baseman Ben Zobrist, shortstop Addison Russell, and third baseman Kris Bryant — which is a first since the 1963 Cardinals had an entire infield.

Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler also will get the start if his strained right hamstring heals.

The 1976 Reds were the last team to have five position players voted to start the game.

As for the Red Sox, they have four starters — designated hitter David Ortiz, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, and outfielders Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts.

Only the Royals will have multiple position-player starters — first baseman Eric Hosmer and catcher Salvador Perez.

Home advantage

Though the game is in an NL city (San Diego), the AL will be the home team.

The reason: This is the second of four consecutive All-Star Games that will be played in NL cities — Cincinnati last year, and Miami and Washington the next two years.

It’s only fair for teams to alternate home and away given this exhibition continues to decide home-field advantage in the World Series.

Ex-Tiger stars

A couple former Tigers are All-Stars.

■Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was voted in as a starter — he’s had a monster first half that should set him up for a huge payday if he opts out of his contract this offseason.

■Marlins closer Fernando Rodney, who is an All-Star for the third time with a third team.

Mound presence

The NL probably has the more impressive starting pitchers even without Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (on the DL with a back injury).

Kershaw would have been the favorite to start for Mets manager Terry Collins, who probably turns to his own guy, Noah Syndergaard.

It’s probably just as cut and dry in the AL, where White Sox ace Chris Sale should get the ball.

Razor-thin margin

You thought the 2000 presidential election was a nail-biter. It has nothing on the race to be the NL’s starting second baseman.

Ben Zobrist of the Cubs beat Daniel Murphy of the Nationals by 88 votes. Each player received more than 3 million votes.

Middle push

Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler has his his work cut out for him in The Final Vote with Red Sox Nation certainly expected to make a strong push to add Dustin Pedroia.

In the NL, Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, after his historically hot start to his career, could be the pick over Starling Marte (Pirates), Jake Lamb (Diamondbacks), Ryan Braun (Brewers), and Brandon Belt (Giants).

Derby daze

The Home Run Derby, almost more anticipated than the All-Star Game, could be intriguing given Madison Bumgarner, the Giants ace who can hit a bit, has made overtures about competing. Marlins ace Jose Fernandez would like to, too. But ... it’s not likely given one wrong swing could lead to injury.