Sunday, July 26, 2009

Downs Syndrome

Doc in the Bullpen

This week simply hasn't been great for Scott Downs but before I get into that, I guess I'll have to talk about Friday's game.

The rain was out but we didn't care, we were on a mission to see Doc and a little precipitation wasn't going to stop us. After a hot dog and a little pre-drinking, we were ready to enter the dome to see our hero take the mound (at least) one last time.

We got to our seats a half hour early and the good Doctor came out (to a small ovation) to stretch. Arnsberg and Barajas made their way from the clubhouse to the bullpen to catch Doc. Arnsberg was drinking a Red Bull.

I decided to sneak to the seats down by the bullpen to watch Halladay in action, up close and personal. Now I've been to live ball games plenty of times before but watching a pitcher from a distance, you really don't get a feel for the velocity in the pitches. Doc's fastball is in the low 90's and man that was quick. His breaking stuff kept catching the outside corner too. I would hate to have to stand in the box and try to get a hit off him. I managed a couple of pictures (sorry for the crappy quality. I should really invest in a camera) and got a few decent videos of his bull pen session.

As I was making my way back to my seat the anthem started playing. Now I never understood the reason for the anthem at sporting events but whether you like it or not, it's there. Which also means, give it some respect aka shut the fuck up and take off your fuckin hat. As I stood at the top of the stairs, I could see three or four hats on people's heads in that one section alone. I'm 24 years-old so I'm hardly from Don Cherry's era nor am I like your crazy Uncle who starts every third sentence with "Back when I was in 'Nam..." but I am a proud Canadian and that just made me sick.

As the game got on it's way I noticed that the crowd was a little small considering the circumstances. I was expecting a much larger turn-out like 35,000 or so but the attendance was at a little more than 24,000. Pretty lame, Toronto. Luckily for us, we sat behind a loud and obnoxious (and probably the only) Marlins fan. He kept ragging on how his team has won three World Series since '93 (umm...buddy, if you were such a die-hard fan, you would know that the Marlins only have two championhips). I got to give him credit though; I'm shocked he was even aware of the Marlins' existance considering he looked like he was still living in 1988. He wore black acid washed jeans, a Marlins jersey (probably with a Poison or Guns 'n' Roses t-shirt underneath), a black bandana with hair that would have made Kenny G jealous.

Doc was a little uncharacteristic early on, giving up a hit and issuing a walk in the first but he managed to get out of that mini jam unscathed. He wasn't as lucky in the third. After giving up another walk to Bartlett, Bossman Jr. pushed the runner to third on a double with no outs. Both runners ended up coming home but only one earned against Doc as Upton got to third on a pass ball on Barajas. The Jays ended up getting those runs back in the bottom of the inning on a Scutaro single and a Hill double. Once the score was tied at 2-2, Doc settled down and was pretty much vintage Doc from that point onward. Well, until the 9th anyway. In the 9th, he gave up another walk (third of the night) and then a single to push runners on the corners with two outs. It's okay, this is Doc we're talking about. He ended up getting the next guy to ground out to end the inning.

As Halladay was making his way to the dug out, the crowd was up on their feet giving him a standing ovation. Not only for the great game he pitched today but also for the past 11 seasons. Doc was all business as usual. There wasn't a tip of the cap, but that's okay, we understood; the score was tied, there was still work to be done. Once Doc got to the bench Cito trotted over and shook his hand. After a brilliant 9-inning, 116 pitch effort, the book on the Doctor was closed. His line was definitely impressive (9 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 10 K). C'mon Jays, let's get a run in buttom of the 9th to give Doc the win, walk-off style.

Hill started it off. Garza threw a slider down and away. Ball 1. Next pitch was a fastball down the middle that blew right past Hill. One and one. Next was a hanging breaking ball...and with one crack of the bat, Hill deposited that off Windows restaurant. That was it! Jays win! Everybody came pouring out of the dug o...I felt a nudge from my buddy. I woke up just in time to see Rolen go down swinging. Garza just struck out the side and we're headed to extras. Fuck. The 10th is just something I don't really want to get into. To sum it up: Scott Downs had two on and two outs but gave up two runs too many. Jays lose 4-2.

I'm sorry, we couldn't get you your league-leading 12th win, Roy but thanks for the memories.

On to yesterday's game. I don't have much to say on it since I didn't see the whole thing. I was watching it during lunch and left the restaurant before the 5th inning. But hey, Aaron Hill looked more like Hank Aaron and the Jays were up 8-0. What me worry? I had better things to do than watch a blow out; like pick up a suit for a wedding. So off I went. An hour later, I get a text message from my friend that read "Jays blew a 9-1 lead. Game is going to extras" WHAT. THE. FUCK?!

Scott Downs comes in in the 12th to blow the game again...

I really hope BJ Ryan syndrome isn't contageous

I really don't know what's up with Scott Downs but he just hasn't been the same after his toe injury. In the last week, he's had an abysmal ERA of 15.00 and a WHIP of 3.33 (no wonder my fantasy team's ERA is over 7 and WHIP is over 1.50). I know filming 500 Days of Summer must have been fun but please remember that you're still a major league closer. Perhaps The Blue Jay Hunter was right, maybe Cito should have sat Downs yesterday and put in Frasor. The Blissfully Oblivious Bench Boss with another questionable decision in a year which many were made (not moving Vernon and Rios down earlier in the season, keeping Millar vs lefties, not hitting Overbay higher when he was hot, etc). Regardless, the way the Jays' luck have been, we would have eventually gone to Downs and he would have lost the game in the 15th instead of the 12th. I'm with eyebleaf though. I still believe in Scott Downs!