18 Years Ago Today
Actually, yesterday, I scheduled this for yesterday, but it didn’t go up, likely operator error.
Roy Halladay threw a 10 inning, complete-game shutout.
The Blue Jays were hosting the Tigers. The Tigers were not a good team. Going into the game, they were 37-103, on their way to a 119 loss season. On the plus side, the Tigers made it to the World Series 3 years later (losing out to the Cardinals).
Halladay was amazing. He lost his perfect game in the third inning on an Eric Hinske error. Following his Rookie of the Year, Hinske didn’t have the season we hoped. Going into the game, he was hitting .239/.324/.439, and this was his 16th error (he would finish with 22 errors). In addition, his defense went in the tank in 2003. In his Rookie of the Year season, he had a 2.5 UZR/150. In 2003 he had a -13.1 UZR/150. I don’t know what happened, but he forgot how to play the position. After the 2004 season, they moved him to first base.
After the error, Doc hit the next batter. Maybe a loss in concentration after the error? Doc was intense. But he got out of the inning.
Doc walked Carlos Pena with two out in the fourth and then got the next 12 batters in a row.
In the eighth, with two out, the Tigers got their first hit of the game, a Kevin Witt pinch-hit double. Witt was a first-round Blue Jays draft pick in 1994. He got into 20 games with the Jays, split over the 1998 and 1999 season, and the Jays released him after the 2000 season.
Next, he went to the Padres, Reds, then Tigers. After the Tigers, he went to the Cardinals and Rays. First-round picks get many, many chances.
2003 was his best season in the majors, hitting .263/.301/.407 with 10 home runs in 93 games (he played 146 games career).
Halladay gave up back-to-back singles to Warren Morris and Bobby Higginson to start the 9th inning, but a double play and a fly-out ended the inning.
Morris was a second baseman who hit .272/.316/.373 that season, his last in the majors. Higginson was in the wind-down phase of a good career. In 2000 he hit .300/.377/.538 with 30 home runs, but by 2003 the power part of his game had disappeared. Higginson hit .235/.320/.369 with 14 home runs in 130 games. Career, he hit .272/.358/.455 with 187 home runs in 1362 games over 11 seasons.
Roy would have a 1-2-3 tenth inning and finished 10 innings with a 3-hitter, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts. He threw just 99 pitches. 99 pitches to go 10 innings. It was his season’s best GameScore at 90.
Our Jays didn’t have much more luck against Nate Cornejo. He went 9 innings, allowed 5 hits, 2 walks with 2 strikeouts.
Cornejo wasn’t a future Hall of Famer. He had a 4.65 ERA (he came out of it with a 4.40 ERA). He would go 6-17 that season. This was his best start of the season (77 Game Score). It was the best start of his career. Career, he had a 12-29 record and a 5.41 ERA in 56 starts.
We had more luck in the tenth when the Tigers brought in Fernando Rodney. The 10th inning went as follows:
- Hinske walked.
- Pinch-hitter Howie Clark bunted Hinske to second.
- Orlando Hudson struck out.
- Greg Myers was intentionally walked. Myers had a great year with the bat, hitting .307/.374/.502 in 121 games. He would only play 14 more MLB games after that season.
- Pinch-hitter Bobby Kielty hit the walk-off single.
We ended up with 6 hits. Delgado had 3 of them (and an intentional walk). When he singled in the ninth manager, Carlos Tosca pinch ran Dave Berg in his spot (Josh Phelps hit into a double play to end the inning).
Our starting lineup:
Reed Johnson RF
Frank Catalanotto LF
Vernon Wells CF
Carlos Delgado 1B
Josh Phelps DH
Eric Hinske 3B
Mike Bordick SS
Orlando Hudson 2B
Kevin Cash C
We had some pretty good players back then. That top four features four of my favorite Blue Jays of all time.
Bordick was 37 and had a pretty decent season for a 37-year-old middle infielder. He played 102 games and hit .274/.340/.382 with 5 home runs. He retired after the season.
Phelps (like Carlos Delgado) was our catcher of the future at one time, but his defense didn’t keep up with his bat. In 2002, he hit .309/.362/.562 with 15 home runs in 74 games. Phelps finished 6th in Rookie of the Year voting. In 2003, he hit .268/.358/.470 with a career-high 20 home runs. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the peak of his career. He played eight seasons, hit .273/.343/.472 with 64 home runs.
Hudson played his first 4 MLB seasons with the Jays. After the 2005 season, the Jays traded Hudson to the Diamondbacks (along with Miguel Batista) for Troy Glaus and Sergio Santos. The team had Aaron Hill coming up and wanted to make room for him. He had an excellent 11-year career, hitting .273/.341/.412 with 93 home runs in 1345 games. He also won 4 Gold Gloves.
We finished 86-76, but that was only good enough for third place, 16 games back of the Yankees (and 9 games back of the Red Sox).
Halladay would finish the season 22-7 (the most wins in his career) with a 3.25 ERA in 36 starts. He had 9 complete games (leading the league) and 2 shutouts, and a league-leading 266 innings. That was good for an 8.1 bWAR and the Cy Young Award. It was his best season with the Blue Jays.