Jays 2, Angels 1, I'm so tired, and an NFH Challenge

Friday, July 29 2005 @ 08:00 AM EDT

Contributed by: Named For Hank

My interesting life has led me to watch this game backwards: I heard the eighth and ninth innings on the radio, watched the game on TV from the tenth onwards, and now (now being Thursday night just past midnight) I'm watching a recording of the first nine innings that I missed. And I'm really tired, so here's an unranked, randomly ordered list of people who were all out of bubble gum so they had to do that other thing they came to do:

Jerry Howarth:
He was on in the ninth inning. I'm already a big fan of Jerry's because of his near-perfect combination of enthusiasm and knowledge, and I don't think I've ever heard him call a "bad" game, but tonight he outdid himself. He sounded like he was having the time of his life watching a fantastic baseball game. My heart was pounding, but not because I was stressed out or worried, but because the game was just so damned exciting the way Jerry Howarth was calling it.

When that time comes for Jerry's shot at Cooperstown, someone should dig out a copy of the ninth inning from the Jays vs. the Angels on July 28th, 2005. I'm seriously considering signing up for an MLB.com download service just so I can have a copy of it.

David Bush:
Back in the All-Star Break Roundtable, I said this:

Dave Bush needs to return in a big, big way: ride into town and save the team. Be the big dog for two months while the Doctor recovers. Barring a trade, this is the scenario that I see most easily keeping the Jays in the race.

And who knows, Dave Bush could be just the kind of guy who rises to that challenge.
If I keep getting lucky like this, people will mistake me for an actual analyst.

Okay, I just saw Erstad strike out looking in the first on a wicked, wicked pitch. And Figgins in the third, he looks like he's thinking "I cannot believe that I swung at that."

Dave Bush, you just held the scary, division-leading Angels to one lonely run and five scattered hits over eight innings. You didn't get the win, but so what: you kicked ass, and you gave your team the chance to win.

John Lackey:
Okay, we taunted him mercilessly and drummed at him until it drove him crazy last year. I swear, in the bottom of the first he's looking up into the stands and wondering when the drumming will start. He had a great night, but had the misfortune of colliding with Dave Bush's great night. I feel a little bad for him.

The Toronto Blue Jays Bullpen:
As a fan who attended 66 games at the then-SkyDome in 2003 (and I would have made it to 75, but we went to Tobago for two weeks), the performance of the bullpen in this game almost made me cry tears of pure joy. Where that '03 'pen was, well, pretty much a train wreck with a couple of good guys hidden in it, the Jays 'pen this year has been nearly rock-solid. I didn't have a single moment of stomach-dropping terror at the announcement of anyone's entrance.

Where is Jeff Tam these days, anyhow?

The least-fantastic was Scott Schoeneweis, who coaxed that double play ground ball out of Finley, but the play just didn't pan out and one of Bush's baserunners scored. Really, he did exactly what was needed in that situation.

Justin Speier was a killer with three Ks, and Pete Walker rocked the flagging Angels like the hurricane from his entrance music. And Vinnie Chulk did his photo of the day proud with three innings of zeroes. In nine and two-thirds innings, the 'pen combined for four hits and two walks. Amazing.

I'm a little tiny bit worried about Friday's game, with Scott Downs facing the fearsome Texas Rangers and needing to get deep into the game to give the 'pen a rest.

Jamie Campbell:
In the bottom of the third inning, he said
You get the impression that this game could end at two to one or one to nothing. It might not be the highest-scoring affair.
Good call, gv27. And Pat Tabler correctly pointed out that if it became a battle of the bullpens it could go on for a long, long time. Between that and John Gibbons' soundbite about how both teams have strong bullpens and strong defence, the Sportsnet broadcast team seem positively clairvoyant in hindsight.

Alex Rios:
Put in as a replacement in the outfield after Hinske pinch-hit for Reed Johnson, Rios had two at-bats, walked once, got a hit once, stole a base, ran on a wild pitch and tore his pants sliding into third. And then he scored the winning run. That's a lot of baseball to squeeze into two plate appearances!

Gregg Zaun:
Yeah, he was 0-for-7, but he made possibly the coolest play I have ever seen in a baseball game: he chased a foul ball towards the Jays dugout, made a magnificent sliding catch on his knees, and without missing a beat high-fived John Gibbons, who was on the dugout steps. Too, too cool.

So, who'd I leave out? The Jays' defense was great. The Angels' bullpen was great. Aaron Hill made a perfect bunt. Shea Hillenbrand tied the game in the ninth to send it to nine more innings. Give me your ass-kicking lists.

And now, NFH Challenges Waveburner!

Waveburner had this to say in the Instant Replay thread:
So Downs tomorrow and McGowan Saturday? I'm betting on 2 losses.
Well, I'll take that bet! I think that the surging Jays will win at least one of those two games. I'll leave it to Waveburner to suggest the stakes, but I'd love to hear everyone's ideas.