The Toronto Blue Jays are out of the postseason early. Manager John Schneider is being criticized for abruptly pulling starter Jose Berrios from the game.
Toronto fell to a 0-2 deficit in Game 2 of the best-of-three American League wild-card deciding series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Friday. It was Toronto’s second straight loss, and they were headed home from the postseason.
On this day, the Jays made an inexplicable pitching decision that cost them the game. Starter Jose Berrios pitched three scoreless innings, striking out five, before giving up a leadoff single to Royce Lewis in the fourth, prompting manager John Schneider to make a pitching change. He brought in Yusei Kikuchi, who had been warming up in the bullpen earlier in the day.
The move to force the starter into an early walk would prove unsuccessful. Kikuchi gave up an infield single to Max Kepler and a walk to Donovan Solano to load the bases. He then gave up a single to left to Carlos Correa. With Berrios at the plate, a run scored. With the bases loaded, Kikuchi got Willie Castro to ground out to short, but the runner from third came home to score again. Kikuchi got out of the inning without allowing another run, but the momentum had shifted.
MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, also criticized Schneider’s use of the pitcher. “Berrios’ early exit backfired on Toronto,” wrote Toronto reporter Keegan Matheson, “Why did they pull Berrios, who had shut down the Minnesota lineup, and bring in Kikuchi?” “Kikuchi hasn’t pitched out of the bullpen since the second half of 2022,” he said, adding that he didn’t understand Schneider’s choice.
The players were also baffled by Berrios’ decision. “Obviously, we were all surprised,” said Vladimir Guerrero Jr. “We were all surprised by the manager’s decision, but there are some things you can’t control. We can ask ourselves many times, but there is nothing we can do about it.”
Berrios was the most reliable starter this season. He started all 32 games and pitched 189⅔ innings. He went 11-12 with a 3.65 ERA on the mound for Toronto. Berrios, who made his major league debut with Minnesota in 2016, had a less-than-stellar outing at the ballpark he is most familiar with, Target Field in Minneapolis.
“I did everything I could to get through the first 12 batters, and I can’t control anything else,” Berrios said of Schneider’s decision to pull him. MLB.com wrote, “The frustration was evident on Berrios’ face and in his eyes. He gave it his all against a hometown team full of people who mean a lot to him, but it wasn’t enough.”
Opposing batters raved about Berrios’ performance. “He was throwing well,” said Kyle Palmer. “His slider looked good, and his fastball was strong. He was trying to get us out, but luckily we got some great help from Carlos Correa.”온라인바카라
In fact, the silence of the bats left something to be desired. They were unable to capitalize on their chances. In the fifth inning, with runners on second and third, Guerrero Jr. was thrown out at the plate by Sonny Gray, and in the sixth inning, with the bases loaded, Matt Chapman was thrown out at shortstop.
MLB.com wrote, “After Kikuchi, the bullpen held without allowing another run. But the Toronto offense couldn’t put the game out of reach,” said MLB.com of the silent offense.