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#pounditSunday, July 14, 2024

Blue Jays players upset over 1 decision in playoff elimination

John Schneider in his Blue Jays uniform

Sep 9, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Toronto Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider (14) walks back to the dugout during the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays were eliminated from the postseason with their AL Wild Card loss to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday, and one decision they made in the game has been heavily scrutinized both internally and externally.

Blue Jays pitcher Jose Berrios allowed just three hits and struck out five through the first three innings of Toronto’s 2-0 loss. When Berrios led off the bottom of the 4th inning by walking Royce Lewis, Blue Jays manager John Schneider pulled the right-hander from the game.

Berrios had thrown just 47 pitches at that point. Schneider felt left-hander Yusei Kikuchi was a better option with two left-handed hitters — Max Kepler and Alex Kirilloff — due up next. The analytics play backfired, as the next three batters all reached base and Minnesota took a 2-0 lead. That was all the Twins needed to complete the two-game sweep.

When asked about the decision to pull Berrios so early, infielder Whit Merrifield did not hold back.

“I hated it, frankly,” Merrifield said. “It’s not what cost us the game, but it’s the kind of baseball decisions that are taking away from managers and baseball, at this stage of the game.”

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. said “everybody was surprised” by the decision to pull Berrios.

Merrifield seemed to indicate that he thought the decision came from above and was out of Schneider’s hands. Schneider said the Blue Jays had “a few different plans in place” and that Berrios was aware of that going on. The manager also admitted that Berrios had “electric stuff” but said Toronto thought it would be wise to use their entire roster.

At the end of the day, the Blue Jays allowed just two runs. That should be plenty to win the game, but they could not get anything going on offense. Of course, there could be a psychological element to that if players were outraged about Berrios being pulled in the 4th.

The Blue Jays have made the postseason as a Wild Card team in three of the past four seasons, and they have not won a single game. It would not be a surprise if they make some serious changes this winter.

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