July 21: Seattle … again
Some would say a true meltdown is when multiple moves blow up in your face in succession.
Facing the Mariners in what has proven to be a critical game for the playoff race, Schneider began by pulling a dominant Yusei Kikuchi, who was carving up his former team to the tune of 5.1 scoreless innings, after only 78 pitches.
Then, with the Jays clinging to a narrow 2-1 lead, Schneider declined to pinch run for Brandon Belt after he led off the eighth inning with a walk, despite having Kevin Kiermaier on the bench. Moments later, he was unable to score from second on a ringing Whit Merrifield single.
Don’t worry, it got worse. With the bases loaded and one out after Merrifield’s single, Schneider called Daulton Varsho back and sent up pinch hitter Alejandro Kirk … who promptly hit into a double play.
Having turned to the bullpen early, and already burning through Erik Swanson, Schneider was forced to watch Yimi Garcia blow the lead in the eighth, before the Mariners walked it off in the ninth.
May 1: José, Ok?
Speaking of pulling Kikuchi early only to be left with ineffective bullpen options, Schneider’s feel for when to pull a starter, and when not to, is something which has constantly been in question this season.
The most egregious example probably took place on May 1 at Fenway Park.
There, José Berrios had been doing José Berrios things, struggling with his command, lacking his best stuff, but biting down hard on the mouthpiece and gritting his way through five innings, allowing two runs despite 8 hits and a walk.
In the bottom of the fifth, Berrios had allowed hard contact to three straight batters, escaping the inning on a lineout and a double play. Visibly tiring, he was sent back out for the bottom of the sixth with the Jays clinging to a 3-2 lead. Immediately, Jarren Duran went deep, tying the game at three, and seemingly signifying the end of Berrios’ gutsy night.
He struck out the next batter, but when he walked the batter after that, still Schneider left him in the game. Up stepped rookie Enmanuel Valdez, who took Berrios deep for his first career home run, giving the Red Sox a 5-3 in a game they would end up winning 6-5.