Tuesday night saw the Toronto Blue Jays suffer a dramatic loss against the New York Yankees that saw them fall three games behind their pin-striped foes in the Wild Card race. The Blue Jays are now put into an almost ‘win out the remaining five games of the season for a shot at the playoffs’ scenario and now have an important question about whether or not you give Hyun Jin Ryu the start in the final game of the season?
Tuesday night’s start was the first for Ryu after he returned from the 10-day injured list and was able to get through the first four innings relatively unscathed, as he was able to battle out of trouble. However, in the fifth inning, after getting Brett Gardner to ground out he allowed three consecutive base runners before being pulled, trailing 2-1. Adam Cimber would surrender one of Ryu’s inherited runners and the Blue Jays were never able to come back.
Ryu has been hot or cold this season; at times he has given the club great starts and in fact has given the Blue Jays five starts this season of at least six innings and no earned runs, with the most recent being on September 6 against the Yankees in an 8-0 victory.
The Blue Jays could be in a must-win situation on Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles and you could have a debate whether or not Hyun Jin Ryu should get the start.
Ryu has also been Mr. Hyde to Dr. Jekyll throughout the year and has failed to give the team five innings in seven of his last 14 appearances, including his last three starts. During those three appearances, Ryu has a record of 0-2 with a 15.58 ERA over just 8.2 IP. Since the month turned to July, Ryu has made 15 starts and has posted a 5.57 ERA over 74.1 innings, while opponents are posting a slash line of .282/.321/.470 against the $80 million lefty.
If the Blue Jays hopes for the postseason ride on the team winning on Sunday, do you have confidence with Ryu against the Baltimore Orioles? The southpaw has made five starts against the Orioles this season and has a record of 3-1 against them, however, he has surrendered 16 earned runs over 26.2 IP (5.40 ERA) while posting a 1.31 WHP. His two most recent starts against the Orioles came on August 31 and September 11, where he allowed 10 earned runs over nine innings and picked up the loss in one of those games.
The only foreseeable option I can imagine the Blue Jays having is to start Jose Berrios on three days rest. Since joining the team, the 27-year old has appeared in 11 games and posted a 5-4 record with a 3.50 ERA. Over the entirety of the 2021 season that has been split between the Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins, Berrios sports the fourth-best ERA in the American League and sits second in innings pitched behind teammate Robbie Ray. Over his last six appearances, Berrios has posted a 2.70 ERA while holding opponents to a .190 batting average and has pitched into the seventh inning in each appearance.
The big factor in this decision is that Berrios would have to go on three days rest, which is something he has never done over his career so this would be uncharted territory.
The first thing the Blue Jays need to do is put themselves in a situation to make that scenario a possibility as if they can’t turn their current slide around it won’t matter. If Sunday does become a must-win situation, my choice would be to go with Berrios. What would you do?