The Blue Jays were eliminated from the playoffs after losing Game 2 to the Twins on Wednesday, and some Toronto players criticized manager John Schneider’s decision to take starting pitcher José Berríos out early.
Berríos only pitched three innings, plus one batter in the fourth, before Schneider made the call to the bullpen. The former Twin finished with five strikeouts, and Minnesota had yet to score when Berríos was benched.
Schneider put in lefthander Yusei Kikuchi, and the game quickly turned. The Twins scored two runs that inning with Kikuchi on the mound, which were the only two runs of the game for either team.
After the game, some Toronto players let their opinions on Berríos’s benching known. Blue Jays utility player Whit Merrifield did not hold back on his thoughts.
“I hated it, frankly,” Merrifield said, via FanNation’s Inside the Blue Jays. “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.”
Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. admitted that “everybody was surprised” by Schneider’s decision, even though the manager said the team knew the pitching plan heading into the game.
“Obviously, everybody was surprised,” Guerrero said, via MLB. “Everybody was surprised with the decision, but there are things you cannot control. You can ask yourself many times, but it’s not our decision. We were surprised.”
While the players didn’t publicly blame the pitching decision for their loss, it sounds like the team wasn't on the same page as Schneider made it sound like.