For the second year in a row, the Toronto Blue Jays have shockingly flamed out of the MLB playoffs, and many fans and commentators are calling for heads to roll, starting with manager John Schneider.
Just how bad did it get for Schneider over the two-game sweep? Keep reading for all the gory details of five decisions which doomed the Blue Jays in the Wild Card, including one of the most unfathomable moments in franchise history (hello José Berríos).
Should John Schneider be fired? Review the evidence for yourself …
Pulling Berríos in the fourth inning of Game 2
We might as well start with the big one, the one Jays fans are going to be talking about for years to come, truly one of the most shocking moments in franchise history.
Through three innings of a win-or-go-home Game 2, José Berríos was dealing, shutting out the Twins with only three soft singles allowed, while racking up five strikeouts. With Berrios looking as good as he ever had in Blue Jays uniform at the most important time, John Schneider suddenly emerged from the dugout … to pull Berríos from the game after only 47 pitches and bring in Yusei Kikuchi.
Predictably, before Jays fans (and players) even had a chance to lift their jaws from the floor, Kikuchi had let up two runs, the only two runs the Twins would need, or get, in a 2-0 victory.
Of course, Schneider did not suddenly come up with the idea of giving Berríos the hook on his own in that moment. Certainly, this was a mandate laid down by general manager Ross Atkins and his analytics department before the game even started, probably before the first pitch of the series was ever thrown. It is simply the nature of an organization totally subservient to analytics that the manager be required to manage the game as if his eyes are closed.
That said, if there was ever a time for John Schneider to put his foot down against the ivory tower designs of the tall foreheads in the front office, to have the backs of the players he fights with in the trenches every single day – particularly José Berríos, who through struggles and redemption has remained the consummate teammate – this was it.
Sometimes, a leader needs to stand with his guys, even if it means falling on his sword.