Astros using social media to support Keuchel
Organization going all out to get left-hander to this year's All-Star Game
HOUSTON -- If you follow the Astros on just about any social media platform, you know the team is pushing relentlessly in its quest to get left-handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel some help to win a spot in the All-Star Game.
Keuchel, who has been the Astros' top starting pitcher this season, is one of five American League players -- joining Cleveland's Corey Kluber, Detroit's Rick Porcello, Chicago's Chris Sale and Los Angeles' Garrett Richards -- who will take part in the Final Vote, where fans decide who gets the last roster spot. He's certainly deserving of his first All-Star nod, going 8-5 with a 3.06 ERA in 16 starts this year, including three complete games.
"We're basically doing a multi-platform really big social media push," said Astros social media manager Amanda Rykoff said. "Twitter will be the main focus and the easiest call to action. We'll have a different sweepstakes each day with different prizes for fans for voting."
The Astros will be active on Facebook, too, trying to push Keuchel with sweepstakes on Wednesday and Thursday. The club has teamed up with the Marlins to promote Casey McGehee for voting in the National League Final Vote.
"It's very nice both of the two beards are in the Final Vote," Rykoff said. "We're working on putting together new avatars for fans to put on Twitter to show support."
Astros mascot Orbit and Billy the Marlin have been working together to promote each player, as well. The Astros are saving their biggest promotion for Twitter on Thursday, when the voting really heats up, with hourly sweepstakes for Keuchel-related prizes.
Look for Houston celebrities, such as rapper Bun B, and other area pro sports teams to get involved in the Keuchel campaign, too.
"He has some great numbers, and obviously it's a loaded field and all the American League pitchers on the Final Vote make strong cases, but certainly Keuchel's numbers are right there," Rykoff said.
Manager Bo Porter said he's been voting for Keuchel, and teammate Jarred Cosart has been pushing the cause.
"I told my mom and my family members to vote," Cosart said. "It's pretty cool. I gave him a shout-out on Twitter, too. Obviously, it would be great to see him get in there. We all want to see him get in there."
As for Keuchel, he's taking all the attention in stride.
"It's nice to see the support I've been getting," he said. "Regardless of what happens, I appreciate everything that everybody's been doing for me."
Immediately following the announcement of the AL and National League All-Star rosters on Sunday, fans began voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until the winners are announced after the voting concludes on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET.
Fans can also cast votes on the mobile web at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the Final Vote ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text their choice to 89269. For example: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Standard message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010.
For the third consecutive year, the All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote will include social balloting participation, as Twitter support from the 10 candidates' fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their final vote totals. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT on Thursday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners. Fans will be able to follow @MLB for the latest standings updates over the course of the entire four-day voting period.
The hashtags and text designations are as follows:
Keuchel: #VoteKeuchel (A1)
Kluber: #VoteKluber (A2)
Porcello: #PickRick (A3)
Richards: #VoteGRich (A4)
Sale: #TargetSale (A5)
McGehee: #VoteHitsMcGehee (N1)
Justin Morneau: #VoteMorneau (N2)
Anthony Rendon: #VoteRendon (N3)
Anthony Rizzo: #VoteRizzo (N4)
Justin Upton: #VoteJUp (N5)
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again allow fans to help choose the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and via Twitter in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers, for the first time, will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 platforms that support MLB.TV, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.