All-Star Game ratings up, social media activity goes bonkers

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The numbers are out for last night’s All-Star Game and they’re pretty good:

The All-Star Game telecast on Fos drew an 8.1 metered market rating according to data from Nielsen, representing a +3% increase over the 7.9 from last year’s game in Phoenix. Fox won the night in prime time, beating its nearest competitor by 47%.  St. Louis led all markets with a 20.5 rating, followed by host Kansas City which averaged an 18.7 and Detroit which delivered a 16.1.  Among the markets seeing the biggest increase in ratings over last year were Detroit (+50%), Washington (+36%), Los Angeles (+27%) and Dallas (+27%).

Not bad considering it was a crap game, competitively speaking, ending before it really started. And the 50% increase for Detroit must have been a function of that can’t-look-away-from-a-car-crash thing with respect to their boy Justin Verlander.

MLB is also touting all of the social media buzz surrounding the game. Specifically, that initiative they launched this year in which players tweeted from the ballpark after they were removed from the game:

On social media, the All-Star Game generated 807,603 total public Twitter and Facebook comments, a 257% increase over last year’s All-Star Game (226,461), based on data from Bluefin Labs.  In fact, by the end of the first inning last night there were already more social media comments than the entire 2011 All-Star Game generated.  Among 27 different All-Star related topics that trended worldwide on Twitter last night, the hashtag #ASG was used in 245,362 social media comments making it the most trended term for the telecast (30.4% of all comments).

I would guess there is some relationship — the nature of which I have no idea, but I suspect exists anyway — between social media buzz and ratings. Maybe it’s weak. Maybe it’s counterintuitive, but I bet it’s something.

Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

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The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.