And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

Associated Press
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As I said the other day, on occasion I won’t be doing full ATH recaps. It won’t be often, but it’s going to happen. Sometimes it will be because my sleep schedule or my personal life gets messed up and frazzled and I simply don’t have the kind of mental or physical energy at 6am that I do most days. Sometimes it’s as simple as a time crunch in the morning. I have kids in school and sometimes things come up — like today’s conference with one of my kids’ teachers — that require me to treat my morning like most you treat yours, what with the getting dressed and taking a shower and all of that. Though obviously not in that order.

That said I DID DO full recaps today! I was lucky, there were only eight games played and a rainout, so I had time to put this together. I just say this now so, when that isn’t the case and I have to punt sometimes, you guys don’t get grumpy. Cool? Cool. Anyway, here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Reds 10, Phillies 6: There are a lot of people who were certain that the Phillies would be the worst team in baseball this year. My gut was to doubt that some because they’re farther along on their tear-down/rebuild than some think and they finally have some prospects. This by no means made me think they’d be GOOD. Oh God, not at all, but sometimes young hungry kids and organizations which have definitively closed the book on the past go on little frisky streaks. The truly decrepit teams are the ones with a bad mix of veterans and a front office which hasn’t definitively shown that it’s looking forward.

Then the Phillies went and got swept by one of those teams that fits the latter description and I dunno if I shouldn’t just go all-in with the people who are certain.

White Sox 6, Athletics 1: A key to the White Sox being better than a lot of us so-called experts think they’ll be will be to get good pitching beyond Sale and Quintana. In the past two games Carlos Rodon gave them seven solid innings in a losing effort and Mat Latos gave them six shutout innings. This is a good sign. Maybe it’s a sign about pitching against the A’s in Oakland, but it’s at least a view of how things could go well. The Chisox take three of four to start the season.

Yankees 8, Astros 5: Mark Teixeira hit a tie-breaking, three-run homer in the seventh to power the Yankees to a series win over Houston. Starlin Castro hit another. After the game Teixeira said “The Yankees are the whole package. I mean once you play for the Yankees, you’ve kind of reached the pinnacle of Major League Baseball.” I know a lot of people roll their eyes at that sort of thing, but I kind of liked that he said that and have some deeper thoughts about how he can say that kind of thing plausibly, apart from the fact that the Yankees won a lot. I’ll have that up in a post later this morning.

Marlins 6, Nationals 4: David Phelps was like Dante in “Clerks” in that he wasn’t even supposed to be here today. Because of a rain delay early, the Marlins lost their starter, Adam Conley, after an inning and Phelps, a swingman, had to go four. He went four scoreless, got the win and even hit an RBI single. I wonder if he has any opinions about innocent contractors hired to work on the Death Star but who were killed; casualties of a war they had nothing to do with.

Giants 12, Dodgers 6: I guess the Dodgers weren’t going to shut everyone out forever. I guess playing an actually good team will complicate such plans. They did make it until the fifth inning here, giving them a 31-inning scoreless streak, but by the time Hunter Pence hit a grand slam and Joe Panik drove in three, that was pretty cold comfort.

Orioles 4, Twins 2: The Orioles get the sweep. Manny Machado and Joey Rickard homered and Ubaldo Jimenez was strong over seven. Fun thing: in the course of any offseason any number of players come up in the news, so one obviously thinks of them. Big names, free agents, etc. Other players, even if they aren’t in the news, you occasionally think of, at least if you have baseball on the mind. Like, you remember that a thing exists called the Tampa Bay Rays, and your mind might register, for a second, that a person named “Desmond Jennings” plays baseball and that you are familiar with his work. Some guys you just never think of until the season begins again. Ubaldo Jimenez, this offseason was one of them apparently. Because when I saw the box score here I went “oh yeah, he’s a baseball player I haven’t thought about since at least September.” Maybe that’s too much of a glimpse into how my mind works. Sorry, but I work alone and talk to my cats more than anyone. This is how it goes.

Cubs 14, Diamondbacks 6: The Cubs scoring 14 runs and winning is the coldest possible comfort to a really scary and potentially awful situation with Kyle Schwarber. He has no broken bones and he’ll have an MRI today, but he was in pain and on crutches last night, so that doesn’t bode super well. Here’s hoping it turns out better than it looks.

Angels 4, Rangers 3: Albert Pujols with the walkoff RBI single in the ninth. It came after the Rangers intentionally walked Mike Trout to get to Pujols. In a lot of similar situations, players who come through with that big hit imply that they took at as a sign of disrespect or something and that they went to bat following the intentional walk with added inspiration or whatever. Big kudos to Pujols for not playing that card. He said it exactly perfectly:

“I would do the same thing if I was the manager in that situation. Mike is the best player in the game, and as a manager, you don’t want the best player in the game to beat you.”

All that mattered was that RBI which won the game.

Red Sox vs. Indians: POSTPONED — Last time I was here it was raining, It ain’t raining anymore. The streets were drowning, waters waning, all the ruins washed ashore. Now I’m just looking through the rubble, trying to find out who we were. Last time I was here it was raining. It ain’t raining anymore.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.