MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - OCTOBER 04: Jose Berrios #17 of the Toronto Blue Jays prepares to pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning in Game Two of the Wild Card Series at Target Field on October 04, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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Terrible Pitching Decision Costs Blue Jays Their Season

On Wednesday, the Toronto Blue Jays were bounced from the MLB Playoffs after losing 2-0 in the Wild-Card Round to the Minnesota Twins. Many Blue Jays fans are blaming the season-ending loss on a mistake that Toronto's manager John Schneider made in the middle of the game.

Toronto starter José Berríos toed the rubber in Wednesday's Game 2 against the Minnesota Twins (his former team), hoping to keep his Blue Jays squad alive in the best-of-three series, after Toronto lost Game 1 on Tuesday. Berríos breezed through three innings, surrendering only three hits while striking out five and conceding zero runs. Then, after giving up a leadoff walk in the fourth inning, Schneider decided to take Berríos — who had only thrown 47 pitches — out of the game.

Schneider's move backfired immediately. Toronto reliever Yusei Kikuchi entered the game after Berríos, gave up a single, gave up a walk to load the bases, then gave up another single to score the game's first run. A second run scored once the next hitter hit into a double play — both runs were all that either team scored all game. 

Blue Jays fans expressed their anger with Schneider's blunder on social media. One 'X' user summed up fan's frustration succinctly, posting, "Jays gave Jose Berrios 131 million dollars in order to take him out of the most important start of his life after 47 pitches of shutout ball." One can see why they were so upset.

When Sportsnet asked Schneider about the pitching move postgame, he said, "We had a few different plans in place. [Berríos] was aware of it. Tough to take him out, but with the way that [the Twins] are constructed, you want to utilize your whole roster, and it didn't work out." 

Schneider went on to say, "You can sit here and second-guess me, second-guess the organization, second-guess anybody. I get that. It's tough... but that's baseball sometimes." 

Although it's easy to throw all the blame on Schneider for his poor pitching decision, hindsight is 20/20. He was making the move that he thought would help win his team the game, and it backfired in his face.

Not that Blue Jays fans should sympathize with him.

Especially because Toronto's 2022 season ended after another poor Schneider pitching decision. In Game 2 of the 2022 AL Wild-Card Round against the Seattle Mariners, Schneider elected to remove starter Kevin Gausman while he was still pitching well; prompting the Mariners — who were losing 8-1 when Gausman left the game — to come back and win 10-9. In doing so, Seattle became the third team ever to come back from a 7-run deficit in a postseason game.

While one managing miscue can be excused, Schneider making the same costly mistake in consecutive seasons justifies Blue Jays fans' vitriol. 

Schneider received the benefit of the doubt last time around — but Wednesday's blunder could cost him his job.

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