Wild Performances in MLB Wild Card Games

The first two games of the 2015 MLB Playoffs have come and gone, and they have been very exciting and featured dominating pitching performances in both games.

The nature of a one-game series with a do-or-die atmosphere made for some very intense baseball, and that had to help with both the ratings of the games, and how active the two games did on social media.

Houston pitcher Dallas Keuchel was dominant beating the Yankees 3-0 on Tuesday, October 6.
Houston pitcher Dallas Keuchel was dominant beating the Yankees 3-0 on Tuesday, October 6.

On Tuesday, Houston Astros pitcher, Dallas Keuchel, shut down the New York Yankees’ bats and led the Astros to a 3-0 victory in the Bronx. This game received 169,565 total tweets for the game (more than all but two NFL games from this weekend). Twitter action spiked when the Astros knocked in two solo home runs, one in the second inning, the other in the fourth. But the highest peak of Twitter posts for the game in the bottom of the ninth and after the final out, as the reality started to set in for both Astros and Yankees fans. You can view the entire social timeline of this game here.

The graph of Twitter activity when the Astros recorded the final out of the game.
The graph of Twitter activity when the Astros recorded the final out of the game.

On Wednesday, the Chicago Cubs had their turn. Cubs starter, Jake Arrieta, followed with a dominating performance of his own, shutting out the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh by the score of 4-0. The Cubs jumped out to an early lead, scoring a run in the top of the first. They then blasted a 2-run homer in the top of the third inning. This home run by rookie Kyle Schwarber was the largest spike in Twitter activity for the game — until the final out was recorded, that is. You can view the entire social timeline of this game here.

Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta celebrates after getting out of a jam against the Pirates in the NL Wild Card game.
Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta celebrates after getting out of a jam against the Pirates in the NL Wild Card game.

In both of these games, the peak of Twitter activity came once the final out was recorded. The end of the Astros/Yankees game had 3,063 initial tweets, and 12,401 in the five minutes following. The Cubs/Pirates game followed with 3,018 tweets once Starlin Castro caught the final line drive, and then 14,41o in the five minutes following. Perhaps the most notable difference in these two similar games where the road team advanced on the strength of their starters, was in the Cubs/Pirates game, tensions boiled over when the Pirates hit Arrieta in the hip. Both benches cleared and some punches were thrown, although they were only thrown at inanimate objects. This altercation was the second largest spike in Twitter activity during the game, registering 2,715 tweets initially and 9,464 in the five minutes into the aftermath of it.

The graph of Twitter activity when Arrieta was hit.
The graph of Twitter activity when Arrieta was hit.

Will the rest of the MLB Postseason have as much buzz as these winner-take-all games? We shall see, with the ALDS starting today (Thursday Oct. 8) at 3:37 p.m. ET, when the Texas Rangers take on the Toronto Blue Jays.

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