Rogers delivers ammo, Drive of '85, Hawkins, Lowe, Puhl
By Bob Elliott
Ever seen one of those movies?
You know where the good guys are pinned down and they’re running out of ammo.
It’s Jose Bautista’s analogy ... take it away Jose.
“And all of a sudden the plane drops, the parachute opens and a box of ammo comes floating down,” said Bautista, “and then it’s like ‘Let’s go baby.’”
That’s how Bautista, senior Blue Jays in terms of service, looked at the pre-deadline arrival of Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere, LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe.
“This is the first time since I’ve been here, where moves were made at the deadline to add,” said Bautista. “I was used to dismantling teams. Not here but other places (Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates).
“As players you always feel you have a chance -- unless you are 10 games under .500. The trades changed the dynamics. Some times there is a separation between what the players want and management.”
Not the case in the hectic days leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline when it seemed as if incoming players were arriving like One A Day Multivitamins.
“Everyone is on the same page, they’re saying ‘we believe in you as much as you guys do,” said Bautista. “Now, it falls on our shoulders to go out and do it.”
Last weekend the Jays swept the series in the Bronx allowing one run in 28 innings and it took a replay to decide whether Mark Teixeira’s drive was a double, fan interference or a homer.
Two games into this weekend the Jays and their high-powered offence opened the Yankee series in first place, have scored four runs ... one in the final 15 innings.
Is it over?
No, it’s not over. To paraphrase John Belushi it’s not over until the Jays say it is over, not with 44 games remaining.
Drew Hutchison, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
And the Jays could use another drop from the skies.
Told how some fans were shocked that the Jays actually lost on ending their 11-game winning streak, Bautista said “I didn’t think we’d lose again either.”
Looking way back: Thirty years ago Friday night the Drive of ‘85 was in full gear as Dave Stieb pitched a complete-game four-hitter to beat the Texas Rangers 4-1 and lengthen their first-place lead to seven games.
Right fielder Jesse Barfield homered off and doubled, left fielder George Bell singled and centre fielder Lloyd Moseby walked twice.
They’re handing out Bell-Moseby-Barfield bobbleheads Sunday afternoon. Tony Fernandez, Rance Mulliniks, Willie Upshaw, Garth Iorg, Tom Henke, Tony Fernandez and Stieb are in town.
“Hello friends, welcome to Tiger Stadium where all the seats are orange except those that are painted blue,” said Henke breaking into an excellent Jerry Howarth impression as soon as he saw the Jays announcer Saturday morn.
Henke then hugged his friend Howarth.
“No,” corrected Iorg, “it’s where all the seats are orange ... (pause) ... except those that are blue.”
The best Jays team ever -- if you go off regular season wins the 1985 team won 99 times, most in the 39-year history of the franchise -- left Detroit after being swept in a three-game series with a three-game lead to host the Yankees at Exhibition Stadium in the final three games of the year.
All the Jays had to do was win once. They were an out away when Butch Wynegar hit a two-out homer and Don Mattingly’s dropped fly ball in the rain gave the Yankees a 4-3 win on Friday.
The next day Ernie Whitt, Moseby and Upshaw all homered off Joe Cowley, as Doyle Alexander pitched a 5-1 complete-game win for the Jays first title.
“It’s come back around,” said Henke. “We beat the Yankees the first time. And now it’s us and the Yankees again.”
Your turn: LaTroy Hawkins is in his 21st and final year. While he’s only been a Blue Jays, his 11th team, a little over two weeks he’s been around long enough to get a feel for situations.
Will the Jays be able to bounce back from 4-3 and 4-1 losses to the Yankees?
“Heck yes, the Yankees are doing to us what we did to them last weekend,” Hawkins said. “Those two games are the type you’d pay to see.”
Mashiro Tanaka pitched a complete-game win Saturday and Carlos Beltran hit a three-run, pinch-hit homer with one out in the eighth Friday before Andrew Millers struck out Troy Tulowitzki with the 12th pitch of his at-bat while the winning run danced off second.
“We swept them, if we can salvage on Sunday we win four of six.”
Canuck taught: Reliever Mark Lowe played for coach Terry Puhl at Fort Bend Baptist Academy in Sugar Land, Tex. along with the native of Melville, Sask.’s son Stephen Puhl. Ford Bend reached the state final losing to Second Baptist his junior year in 2003.
Lowe played shortstop before splitting time the next year between the outfield and the mound, with the Seattle Mariners drafting him in the fifth round in 2004. His best friend, Stephen Puhl took over at short.
“During our Little League days every day was spent at the Puhl house watching games or hitting in cages,” said Lowe. Stephen pitched two years in the New York Mets system. Terry coaches at the University of Houston-Victoria, guided Canada in the 2008 Bejing Olympics, is a member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and adds Lowe “has the highest fielding percentage of any Canadian outfielder (.933).”