Vote for Votto!

Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto speaks to media about playing in his hometown, Toronto. (Greg...

Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto speaks to media about playing in his hometown, Toronto. (Greg Henkenhaf/QMI AGENCY)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:57 PM ET

Toronto native and Cincinnati Reds first baseman, Joey Votto, who very well might be the leading candidate for National League MVP honours, failed to make the All-Star team through the fan vote, the player vote and the managerial selection process. Now he has one chance: If he beats out four other NL players in what is termed the Final Vote by fans. Fans have until 4 p.m. Thursday to vote, either at MLB.com or by texting (in Canada) the word ‘Vote’ to 88555.

TW-EEE-NS

How are the Central and West Divisions of the American League doing against the East?

Of those nine teams, only one — Detroit (5-2) — has a winning record against the East. Among the the other eight are the Minnesota Twins (8-13 vs. the East) who come to Toronto locked up tight with the Tigers for the AL Central lead, despite the fact they have won just four of their last 13.

The Twins are six games over .500, trailing Detroit by a half-game after the Tigers beat Baltimore Monday while Minnesota had a day off.

As usual, Minnesota is one of the toughest defensive teams in baseball but there is some concern that 16 of their 32 errors have come in their most recent 23 games.

Since June 1, the Twins have gone 13-18. In those 31 games, their ERA has been about a half a run more generous per game than previously. In road games, Minnesota pitchers have a 5.47 ERA as opposed to more than two runs less than that at home.

“Now, it’s time to put it in gear,” manager Ron Gardenhire told the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Sunday, just before his team went out and lost 7-4 to Tampa Bay.

The Twins have been through a spate of injuries but most everybody is back and healthy.

CASEY ROYAL

It’s early days, so nobody should get too excited but the Jays may have a diamond in the rough in Casey Lawrence, who made it all the way through 50 rounds of the 2010 draft without being selected.

As a pitcher with Division III Albright College in Pennsylvania, Lawrence was lightly scouted, despite his 3.64 ERA, 70 strikeouts and 10 walks in 64 innings. Lawrence was signed as a free agent after the draft by Jays scout Bobby Gandolfo who, according to Jays director of scouting Andrew Tinnish, “was impressed with Lawrence’s desire.”

In his first four appearances (two of them starts) with short-season class-A Auburn of the New York Penn League, Lawrence has worked 16 1/3 innings, allowed six hits, three walks and just one earned run while striking out nine.

“I think his early success can be attributed to his ability to throw three pitches for strikes as well as his competitiveness,” Tinnish said. “He just wanted an opportunity to show that he can compete in professional baseball. So far he’s doing that.”

on deck

Tuesday — Twins (Kevin Slowey 8-5, 4.57) at Blue Jays (Jesse Litsch 0-3, 6.98) 7:07 p.m., Sportsnet, Fan 590.

Wednesday — Twins (Carl Pavano 9-6, 3.30) at Blue Jays (Marc Rzepczynski, first app. of season), 7:07 p.m., Sportsnet , Fan 590.

Thursday — Twins (Scott Baker 7-7, 4.72) at Blue Jays (Brett Cecil 7-5, 4.19), 7:07 p.m., Sportsnet, Fan 590.


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