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And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Brewers 9, Phillies 0: Roy Halladay threw 123 pitches in his last start and got tattooed for six runs on ten hits in this one. Coincidence?  Randy Wolf returns to his old stomping grounds (stamping grounds? Can we get a ruling on this) to shut down his old mates (6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER). Well, he left after 2006, so at least some of them are his old mates.

Blue Jays 6, Yankees 5: Mariano Rivera was handed a two-run lead in the ninth inning and … he blew it. A leadoff double followed by a wild pitch brought the Jays to within one and then a walk and two singles later — one of them a bunt single — and it was all tied up. A Travis Snider RBI double in the 10th ended it.  I suppose this sort of thing happens from time to time. Probably doesn’t matter. According to very reliable sources, the machines became self-aware just after 8PM last night, so the attack on humanity begins tomorrow. It’s good to know that both Rivera and Halladay are humans, so at least they’re on our side.

Angels 15, Rangers 4:  The Angels’ young bats break out in a major way. Mark Trumbo homered and drove in four runs, Hank Conger had two hits and scored twice and Peter Bourjos had four hits, including a homer among his four hits. Colby Lewis got rocked in his first start back following a missed turn due the to birth of his second child. More on that a bit later this morning.

Mariners 13, Tigers 3: Man there were a lot of blowouts yesterday. This one was pretty surprising given how inept the Mariners have been on offense. But when the opposition walks you 11 times — 11! — you’re going to score a bunch. Jack Wilson got three of those walks. How do you not throw strikes to Jack Wilson?

Rays 2, White Sox 1: A complete game for James Shields, who gave up a run on four hits and struck out nine. And he wasn’t messin’ around either. He threw 105 pitches and the game took two hours and twelve minutes. The Sox have lost six in a row and the Rays have won seven of eight.

Athletics 5, Red Sox 0: Brett Anderson (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER 8K) shut down the Sox who — and I’m not making excuses for ’em, just stating facts — had to wake up early on Monday for that Patriots’ Day game then fly out to the west coast for a night game last night. How are you not jet lagged after that? John Lackey didn’t pitch poorly, but when you don’t score …

Orioles 11, Twins 0: You’re Ron Gardenhire. You take a beating like this and you think, hey, silver lining time: I got a closer who can’t close anymore and I need to build his confidence back up. We’re down 8-0, so let’s put Joe Nathan in to get a zero-leverage inning under his belt and get him on the way back to being productive, OK?  Nathan comes in in the eighth and gives up a three-run bomb to Vlad Guerrero. Oof.

Marlins 6, Pirates 0: Josh Johnson was masterful once again, shutting out the Pirates on two hits over seven innings. He’s now 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA, he has a 27/6 K/BB ratio in 27 innings and opposing hitters are batting .112 against him.

Astros 6, Mets 1: Wandy Rodriguez’s first three starts were bad-good-bad, so he was due for “good,” right? (note: never take me to Las Vegas because I don’t understand how the world works). Rodriguez stymied the Mets, who have lost 11 of 13. Second baseman Justin Turner — new deck chair on the SS Mets — was 1 for 4 in his season debut.

Braves 10, Dodgers 1: The Braves explode against the Dodgers’ bullpen, putting up eight runs in the top of the ninth. Eric Hinske pinch hit that inning and, since they batted around, had both a homer and an RBI single. Not bad considering Braves pinch hitters had entered the game hitless on the year. Six two-hit shutout innings for Brandon Beachy.

Diamondbacks 5, Reds 4: Two homers for Ryan Roberts, who wasn’t even supposed to start. Thanks Melvin Mora’s sore foot!  The Reds have lost five of six, mostly because of bad starting pitching.

Royals 5, Indians 4: Kansas City jumped out to a 5-0 lead and nearly blew it as the Tribe scored four over the final three frames. Bruce Chen has now won seven straight decisions stretching back to last year.

Giants 6, Rockies 3: Ubaldo Jimenez’s return didn’t go much better than his debut, giving up four runs on six hits in five innings. A three-run homer for Pablo Sandoval.

Padres vs. Cubs: POSTPONED:  You can dream the American Dream, but you sleep with the lights on and wake up with a scream. You can hope against hope that nothing will change. Grab a hold of that fistful of rain. Grab a hold, grab a hold, grab a hold. Grab a hold, grab a hold, grab a hold of that fistful of rain.

Nationals vs. Cardinals POSTPONED: See the sky about to rain, broken clouds and rain. Locomotive, pull the train, whistle blowing through my brain.

The Chicago Cubs: Spring training games, regular season prices

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Craig Calcaterra
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MESA, AZ — I’ve been covering spring training for eight years, and in just those eight years a lot has changed in the Cactus and Grapefruit League experiences. The parks are bigger and fancier and the vibe is far more akin to a regular season major league one than the intimate and laid back atmosphere most people think of when they picture February and March baseball.

Just imagine, however, how much has changed if you’ve been coming to Florida or Arizona for a really long time.

“When we first started coming, you could bring your own beer in,” says Don Harper, a lifelong Cubs fan from Kennewick, Washington who spends his winters in Arizona. “You couldn’t bring a cooler, but you could bring a case of beer and a bag of ice and you just set it down in between you and you just put the ice on it and keep it cold.”

I asked Don if the beer vendors complained.

“They didn’t sell beer,” he said.

That was three decades and two ballparks ago. They certainly sell beer at the Cubs’ gleaming new facility, Sloan Park. Cups of the stuff cost more than a couple of cases did back when Don first started coming to spring training.

The price of beer is not the only thing that has changed, of course. The price of tickets is not what it used to be either. Don told me that when he started coming to Cubs spring training games tickets ran about seven dollars. If that. It’s a bit pricer now. Face value for a single lawn ticket, where you’ll be sitting on a blanker on the outfield berm — can be as high as $47 depending on the day of the week and the opponent. Infield box seats run as high as $85.

The thing is, though, you’re not getting face value seats for Cubs spring training games. Half of the home games sold out within a week of tickets going on sale in January. Since then just about every other game has sold out or soon will. That will force you to get tickets on the secondary market. According to TickPick, the average — average! — Cubs spring training ticket on the secondary market is $106.30. For a single ticket. It’s easily the highest price for spring training tickets in all of baseball, and is $26 higher than secondary market tickets for the next highest team, the Red Sox:

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That may be shocking or even appalling to some, but as the automatic sellouts at Sloan Park and those high secondary market prices suggest, there are at least 15,000 people or so for each Cubs home game who don’t seem to mind. Supply meet demand meet the defending World Series champions.

I spoke with two younger Cubs fans, Corey Hayden and Eleanor Meloul, who traveled here from Salt Lake City. On Sunday they lucked out and got a couple of lawn seats for $28. On Saturday, however, they paid $100 a piece on StubHub to get some seats just beyond third base. I asked them if there is some price point that would keep them from coming.

“There isn’t one,” Hayden said. “I paid $4,500 for a World Series ticket, so . . .”

Don Harper wouldn’t do that, but he doesn’t really mind the higher prices he’s paying for his spring tickets. Of course, he’s a longtime season ticket holder so he gets access to the face value seats. I asked him whether his spring training habit would end if those prices got jacked up higher, as the market would seem to bear, or if he had to resort to the secondary market.

Don paused and sighed, suggesting it was a tough question. As he considered it, I put a hard number on it, asking him if he’d still go if he had to pay $50 per ticket. “Yeah, probably,” he said. “$75?” I asked. He paused again.

“As long as I got enough money.”

Don is a diehard who, one senses, will always find a way to make it work. Corey spent a wad of cash on that once-in-a-lifetime World Series ticket, but he and Eleanor seem content to bargain hunt for the most part and splurge strategically. If you’re a Cubs fan — and if you’re not rich — that’s what you’ll have to do. The ticket it just too hot.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.