Over the years I’ve become, for the most part, the sort of sports fan that tries not to get super worked up or bent out of shape about every decision that a manager or a coach does or doesn’t make. Sometimes I get a little hot because this or that wasn’t what I would have done, but it’s usually pretty easy to let it go and get on with it. It annoys me, for example, when a pitcher is absolutely dealing and he gets pulled before he can get his no-hitter or complete game. It annoys me, but I can often see the bigger picture. It sucks to be robbed of witnessing an accomplishment like that, but it sucks more to have a guy’s arm explode. So I get mad for a minute and then it’s over. But sometimes, there’s this. What in the screaming hell was this!?
Toronto Blue Jays right-hander José Berríos was removed despite pitching three dominant innings in a must-win Game 2 of their wild-card series against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.
Berríos, who allowed three hits with five strikeouts and one walk on 47 pitches, was replaced by Yusei Kikuchi.
If you didn’t see the game or were fortunate enough to have been too drunk to remember it, go on and guess what happened next.
The left-hander allowed two runs – with one charged to Berríos – on two hits, including an RBI single to Carlos Correa, which ended up being the difference in a 2-0 win for the Twins.
Of course he did.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) October 4, 2023
I want to be clear here. In no way do I blame Kikuchi for giving up those runs. He’s been a consistently good arm for us all year, far beyond anything that I think anyone could have reasonably expected going into this season. Had he come into the game at almost literally any other time, that would have been fine. It even would have been fine if he had coughed up those same two runs in the end, because that’s sports sometimes. You win some, you lose some. the blame for this lies 100% with John Schneider, who for whatever damn reason just could not resist managing for the sake of managing and wound up managing us right out of the playoffs.
“We had a few different plans in place,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said when asked if that was the spot in the game the team wanted to transition from Berríos to Kikuchi, according to Sportsnet. “José was aware of it. He had electric stuff. It was tough to take him out.
I will grant you that I am not a professional baseball man, but as a haver of common sense I will still put forward the suggestion that maybe if it’s tough to take him out because he’s doing his job so well, that perhaps you don’t fucking do that, because it would be dumb if you did. Might throw off the entire momentum of the game, even. Maybe use one of those other plans instead, like the one where you leave well enough alone until there is any evidence at all that it might no longer be well enough. You did have that one, didn’t you?
“I think with the way they (the Twins) are constructed you want to utilize your whole roster.
You do, but you want to do so at the right times. Lifting Berríos for Kikuchi early in a game is something you do if Berríos is getting Clayton Kershawed, not in the fourth inning of a scoreless tie when he’s thrown less than 50 rather effective pitches.
It didn’t work out. … You can sit here and second-guess me, second-guess the organization, second-guess anybody.
Believe me, I will. It’s been nearly a week and I’m still not over it. This one’s going to take a while. Probably going to paint a lot of what you do next year in a different light, if I’m being honest. Maybe that’s not fair because most of the time you’re pretty ok, but when you screw up something so obvious so much when it counts, it’s hard not to have you wear it.
I get that. It’s tough. It didn’t work out for us today or yesterday.”
Schneider also lamented the decision since Berríos’ stuff was outstanding.
“It’s tough. José arguably (had) the best stuff he’s had all year,” the 43-year-old skipper said, according to ASAP Sports. “And coming in to (play) his former team and a place that he’s familiar with, it was tough to watch it unfold a little bit.”
I can empathize, John. It really is hard to watch the consequences of one’s needless foolishness play out so publicly and immediately. It hurts, but I’m glad you’re feeling it. What I need you to do now is remember this feeling next year come playoff time and resolve not to feel it again.