Don't Be Sad, 'Cause Two out of Three Ain't Bad

Friday, October 07 2011 @ 05:42 PM EDT

Contributed by: Matthew E

The Toronto Blue Jays weren't at their most memorable in 2002. I wouldn't even bring them up if it weren't for a few series they won in July. They lost the first game to the Red Sox in SkyDome on July 11th (10-3, with Pete Walker taking the loss), and then won the next three. On the 17th and 18th, Baltimore was in town, and the Jays took both games, and then beat the Orioles again in Baltimore on the 22nd and 24th. (What happened on the 23rd? Rainout?)

Here's why I bring that up.

Here were the Jays' winning pitchers in those games:

Jul 12 W5-0 Halladay(W,10-4)
Jul 13 W4-1 Carpenter(W,2-1)
Jul 14 W6-5 Escobar(W,5-4)

Jul 17 W7-1 Halladay(W,11-4)
Jul 18 W5-4 Carpenter(W,3-1) (S:Escobar)

Jul 22 W6-3 Halladay(W,12-4) (S:Escobar)
Jul 24 W5-2 Carpenter(W,4-1)

The Jays had Stieb, Clancy, and Leal in the early '80s. In the late '90s, they had Carpenter, Escobar, and Halladay. I remember watching one game in, oh, 1998, 2000, somewhere in there, where Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez were discussing the three of them, and Martinez said, "Carpenter's the most polished. Escobar has the best stuff." And Shulman said, "What about Halladay?" And the two of them just laughed at the notion of trying to describe Halladay's vast potential. Toronto's future, led by these three, was supposed to be bright.

This little stretch was the last hurrah for the three caballeros. That win on July 24th was Carpenter's last as a Blue Jay; he went on a losing streak after that, got hurt, and left the organization after the season. Escobar was a reliever that year; the Jays later turned him back into a starter. He pitched well for the Jays, moved on to the Angels, where he continued to pitch well, and retired after the 2009 season. Carpenter resurrected his career with the Cardinals, coming back from an injury that many didn't think he could come back from; he's been an excellent pitcher for the Cardinals (on and off) ever since. Roy Halladay became the best pitcher in baseball for the Jays, but eventually moved on.

So they're all gone now, and the Jays' future never arrived.

Carpenter and Halladay are still in the major leagues, though, still tremendous pitchers, and tonight they face each other in the deciding game of the NLDS. I hope they both win, and I hope Escobar gets the save, somehow.