Blue Jays: An early prediction of the postseason roster
A few weeks ago it seemed like Schneider and Pete Walker were going to have a tough decision about who to use in their playoff rotation. As we near the end of the regular season, I feel like this is one area of the team that has pretty much decided itself.
The only question I really have at this point is whether they prefer to start their youthful Cy Young contender in Alek Manoah in Game 1, or if they go with an experienced veteran in Kevin Gausman. Either way I’m all but certain that Schneider will turn to the pair to start the first two games, and rightfully so. Gausman has lived up to the free agent contract he signed last winter, posting a 12-10 record with a 3.30 ERA over 30 starts so far this year, and Manoah has been one of the best arms in the American League while going 15-7 with a 2.31 ERA over 30 turns through the rotation of his own.
If you had asked this question at the beginning of the season, 99% of us would have assumed that Jose Berrios would factor into the top three. However, at this point I don’t think there’s any denying that Ross Stripling is third on the depth chart, and you could make an argument for even better than that. The pending free agent has been a godsend for the Blue Jays this year as they’ve navigated Hyun Jin Ryu’s season-ending Tommy John surgery, as well as the struggles for Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi.
The only argument I’m really willing to hear at this point is the fact that Stripling is more experienced as a reliever than the rest of his rotation mates. With that in mind, I can understand the argument for piggy-backing him with Berrios in case the latter has one of his “on” nights, but I don’t know that it’s worth the risk when Stripling has been so solid this year. I certainly wouldn’t roll the dice that way, and I doubt that Schneider and Walker will either.
If the Blue Jays advance beyond the first round then Berrios is going to have to start at some point, and I’m sure he’ll be on the playoff roster even if he’s not in the rotation plans right away. However, in a three-game series, give me Manoah, Gausman, and Stripling all day.