I’ve finally hit on a Jays loss.
Coming into the game the Blue Jays were 26-28, 3rd place in the AL East, 5 games back of these Red Sox.
Joey Hamilton, making the start for the Jays, was 2-3, with a 5.29 ERA. He got pummeled in his previous start, going just 1.1 innings, allowing 9 hits, 4 earned, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts.
2001 was Hamilton’s third season with the Jays. Famously, he came over in trade from the Padres for Woody Williams and Carlos Almanzar. It wasn’t one of GM Gord Ash’s better deals (though with his trading record, it might well have been one of his better deals). Apparently, the Jays went after him on the advice of Dave Stewart. Stewart saw something in Hamilton’s eyes, or something equally stupid, and thought he was going to be a star.
After the trade Ash signed Joey to a 3-year, $16.5 million contract (it was a pretty big contract for the day). Finally, on August 3rd, 2001, the Jays released Hamilton. At that point, he had a 5.89 ERA in 22 starts that season. In total, as a Blue Jay, he had a 14-17 record and a 5.83 ERA in 50 games, 46 starts.
Tim Wakefield started for the Red Sox. Tim was 34 at the time. A knuckleball pitcher, Wakefield came up with the Pirates. He had a pretty good rookie season, in 1992, 8-1, 2.15 ERA in 13 starts, helping the Pirates make the playoffs. Pirates 7 game NLCS loss to the Braves. You likely remember Francisco Cabrera driving in Sid Bream to win the game/series.
Wakefield made 2 starts, they were excellent, both complete-game wins. I remember a reporter asking Pirates manager Ted Simmons ‘Why not have Wakefield start more games?”. As a knuckleball pitcher, he could start two days in a row. Or every other game. But Ted said something about the integrity of the game. I remember thinking ‘what a bad answer’, all a manager has to do is win. Wakefield could have helped his team do that, why worry about following unwritten rules. But Ted didn’t want to win ‘the wrong way’, so he lost the right way.
1993 didn’t go as well and he didn’t pitch in the majors in 1995. He was released by the Pirates, at the start of the 1995 season, signed, later, with the Red Sox and pitched for them until he was 45. 17 seasons with the Sox, 186-168 with a 4.43 ERA. With the 14 wins for the Pirates, he had 200 career wins.
Going into this game, Wakefield had a 2.36, mostly working in relief. He was making his second start, after 14 relief appearances.
|BLUE JAYS||RED SOX|
|Shannon Stewart, LF||Jose Offerman, 2B|
|Alex Gonzalez, SS||Trot Nixon, RF|
|Raul Mondesi, RF||Carl Everett, CF|
|Carlos Delgado, 1B||Manny Ramirez, DH|
|Brad Fullmer, DH||Dante Bichette, LF|
|Tony Batista, 3B||Brian Daubach, 1B|
|Brian Simmons, CF||Shea Hillenbrrand, 3B|
|Jeff Frye, 2B||Jason Varitek, C|
|Alberto Castillo, C||Craig Grebeck, SS|
|Joey Hamilton, P||Tim Wakefield, P|
It was a pitchers’ duel.
Wakefield went 6.2 innings, allowed just 5 hits, 1 earned, 3 walks and 8 strikeouts.
We finally scored in the 7th inning:
Carlos Delgado led off with a single, moved to second on a ground out to the pitcher by Brad Fullmer. He went to third on a Tony Batista ground out and scored when Brian Simmons singled.
There are a lot of great Blue Jays names in that little paragraph and Brian Simmons. Simmons came to us in the Mike Sirotka trade. I feel sorry for dumping on Gord Ash in this recap but he wasn’t good at trades. He was good at drafting. Sirotka, as you remember, was damaged goods. Simmons hit .179/.239/.280, with 2 home runs and 8 RBI, in 60 games, mostly as a defensive replacement. The White Sox took him back, as a waiver claim, after the season, but he never played another MLB game. We wonder why we went so long without making the playoffs.
Hamilton, despite the nasty things I said about him above, also had a very good game. He went 7.2, allowed 7 hits, 1 earned with 4 strikeouts. His 1 earned run was a Manny Ramirez home run, leading off the second inning. Hamilton had 4 innings where he faced the minimum.
He came out of the game after a 2-our single in the eighth. Dan Plesac came in and struck out Trot Nixon. Unfortunately, he gave up a Carl Everett homer to start the ninth. Paul Quantill came in, got an out, gave up a double (to Bo Bichette’s dad), intentionally walked Brian Dauback, got future Jay (and author of ‘The Ship Is Sinking’) Shea Hillenbrand. Another intentional walk to Jason Varitek to load the bases (who was the manager in this mess, oh right, Buck Marinez), but then got John Valentin to ground out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Rod Beck, put down the Jays 1, 2, 3. Amazingly enough, Buck let Brian Simmons hit for himself with 2 out in the inning. Simmons struck out. Simmons was hitting .188/.244/.310 after that at bat.
Jays of the Day? Simmons had a .167 WPA, for a double and a walk (but it was still bad to let him bat in the bottom of the inning). And Hamilton (.346 WPA).
Suckage: Plesac (-.272), Alex Gonzalez (-.241, this was Alex Gonzalez 1.0), Batista (-.169, he of the strange batter stance), Fullmer (-.165) and Delgado (-.135).
It does surprise me that I talked about bad Ash trades without mentioning Raul Mondesi (who went 0 for 2, with 2 walks) for Shawn Green. Raul was having a good start the to season, hitting .281/.387/.505 after the game. The rest of the season he hit .235/.314/.423.
Let’s mention Brad Fullmer. He came to us in a three-team trade. The Expos sent Fullmer to the Jays. The Rangers sent Lee Stevens to the Expos. The Jays sent David Segui to the Rangers.
Stevens played 2.5 seasons for the Expos, hitting .243/.334/.450 with 57 home runs in 338 games. Then he was part of the awful give away to Cleveland (he, Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Grady Sizemore with Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew to the Expos).
Segue played one season with the Rangers (.332/.384/.498 with 8 home runs) and was traded to Cleveland. He went from there to Baltimore.
Fullmer had two seasons with the Blue Jays. The first was great (.295/.340/.558 with 32 home runs). 2001 wasn’t as good (.274/.326/.444 with 18 home runs). After the season he Jays (this time J.P. Ricciardi made the deal) trade him to the Angels for Brian Cooper. Cooper was a pitcher, he had a 14.04 ERA in 8.1 innings for the Jays. Fullmer played 2 seasons with the Angels, hitting .294/.367/.521 with 58 homers. I liked Fullmer and was sad when we traded him away.