ARLINGTON -- Immediately after Tanner Scheppers was named a candidate for the American League Final Vote on Saturday, the Rangers lobbied on Twitter for their setup reliever.
Their campaign is working, but Scheppers needs a push in the tight AL race, where he currently sits fifth after Monday's voting update. More than 16 million Final Votes have been cast, and remarkably, less than 600,000 votes separate the entire AL field, from Toronto reliever Steve Delabar in first to Scheppers.
Robbie Ross tweeted out his support for Scheppers right before Saturday's game from his @Ross_108 account, "Hey everyone who follows me get on MLB and Vote Tanner Scheppers on to the Allstar game!!!"
Hey everyone who follows me get on MLB and Vote Tanner Scheppers on to the Allstar game!!!- robbie ross (@Ross_108) July 6, 2013
Pitchers Derek Holland and Yu Darvish also used the social media platform to get fans to vote Scheppers into his first All-Star Game.
Darvish, whose @faridyu account has over 900,000 followers, thanks in part to a large Japanese fan base, showed his support for Scheppers and countryman Koji Uehara, a former teammate with the Rangers who is on the ballot with the Red Sox.
Holland's @Dutch_Oven45 was more partisan, rallying his near 120,000 followers with: "Ranger nation we need ya. Lets give some love and vote in my buddy tanner Scheppers to the all-star game. Go rangers!!!"
Ranger nation we need ya. Lets give some love and vote in my buddy tanner Scheppers to the all-star game. Go rangers!!! #votescheppers!- Derek Holland (@Dutch_Oven45) July 7, 2013
"It just comes down to a popularity contest at this point," Scheppers said. "I'm happy to be on the ballot and hope it turns out well."
His wife, Jessica, might be his unofficial campaign manager, using the #TakeTanner hashtag in nearly every single one of her tweets since Saturday.
"She'll try," Scheppers said. "She doesn't have quite as many followers as Yu Darvish, but anything helps."
Anyone who is at the game today, make sure everyone in your section sends in their votes to #TakeTanner- Jessica Scheppers (@JSchepp77) July 7, 2013
The Rangers also announced details of a special sweepstakes to help get Scheppers into the All-Star Game. All fans that vote either with their mobile phones or online will be automatically registered for the sweepstakes each of the first 25 times they vote for Scheppers.
The Rangers All-Star sweepstakes prizes are:
• Two innings with Nolan Ryan -- Winner and a guest have the opportunity to sit with Nolan Ryan in his home-plate seats, during a mutually agreeable game, for two innings. Prize includes two tickets to the game.
• Boomstick ride-around -- Winner and one guest will have the opportunity to ride in the Boomstick around the warning track prior to a mutually agreeable game, plus two tickets to the game.
• Photo opportunity in Ron Washington's seat and batting practice -- Winner and one guest will receive game tickets and will have the opportunity to visit the Rangers dugout before the game and take a photo from Washington's bench. After the photo, they'll watch the visiting team take BP from the area behind home plate.
AL CANDIDATES BY THE NUMBERS
• Sit with the voice of Rangers Ballpark, Chuck Morgan, for an inning -- One winner will visit the in-park PA room, run the ribbon panels for half an inning and visit with Morgan for half an inning during a mutually agreeable game. Prize includes tickets for winner and three guests.
• Ozarka Race finish-line holder -- One winner get the chance to hold the finish line on the field during the Ozarka Texas Legends Race or Dot Race. The opportunity will include tickets for winner and one guest, and the winner's name will be announced and shown on the main video board.
Now in its 12th year, the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Saturday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell and ends Thursday at 4 p.m. ET. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
Mobile voting in the U.S. and Canada is open to everyone. In the U.S., to receive the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for Scheppers, simply text message A4 to 89269. In Canada, fans should text A4 to 101010. Standard message and data rates may apply.
Scheppers is 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA entering Sunday's contest, tied for the ninth-lowest among AL relievers. All-Star closer Joe Nathan feels his numbers are good enough to receive the 34th and final spot on the All-Star team.
"Usually the guys that are setting up to get to this game put up some ridiculous numbers, and he's done that," Nathan said. "Hopefully that's enough and people notice what he's done as far as numbers to get him over the top. You look at all the guys on that list, everyone has done a pretty good job. Everyone is deserving of going, but for a guy to step up in his second year and do what he's doing is pretty impressive."
Scheppers would be the first Rangers setup reliever since Jeff Zimmerman in 1999 to become an All-Star. The only other one was Jim Kern, who was Texas' primary setup reliever in front of Sparky Lyle in 1979, even though he eventually led the team in saves that year.
Master Tesfatsionis an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.