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Given how much time in each thread is going to this one decision I figured I'd start an entry on it.

Pulling Berrios quickly - in the 3rd after a walk - is very controversial for obvious reasons. He had gone 3 innings, 3 hits, and that one walk while striking out 5 on 47 pitches, 32 strikes. How had he done in the regular season at that stage? Checking games where he went at least 2 shutout innings to start.

  • April 8th - got first 6 outs easily, 3rd gives up an infield single, e6 gets him to 3rd, scores on a ground out, 2 K's so in many respects doing better. 4th inning he gives up a walk, double, groundout scores a run, double scores another, gets final 2 outs. 5th home run, throws away an out, gives up a single, pulled at last.
  • April 14th - first 8 in a row out, single, out. 4th - single, k, SB, groundout, single run scores, K. Just goes 5 but that was the only run given up on 77 pitches.
  • April 25th - no runs allowed over 7 innings - single in 3rd, 2 singles in 6th, single in 7th
  • May 6th - 4 perfect innings, groundout-walk-single-flyout-groundout, 6th got 2 quick outs, then double, single (run scores) gets last 2 outs. HR in 7th (leadoff), single, groundout, pulled.
  • May 23rd - based loaded no runs in 1st, single picked off in 2nd, perfect 3/4 innings, 5th home run to leadoff, went 7 innings in total 1 run vs Rays (this was the 20-1 game)
  • May 28th - vs Minny - 5 2/3 shutout innings on 94 pitches (single-walk-single in 1st but no runs, was in trouble a lot but bad baserunning saved the Jays)
  • June 14th - vs O's - 7 2/3 IP no runs 3 H 1 BB 5 SO - 4 1/3 perfect, never really in danger.
  • June 19th - vs Miami - 2 no run innings, then 3 runs in 3rd, 2 more in 4th and done.
  • June 30th - vs Boston - just a single in the first 4, home run leading off 5th, 3 more runs in the 6th and done.
  • July 6th - vs ChiSox - 7 shutout innings, 1 hit, 1 walk, 6 K's. Sweet.
  • July 14th - vs Arizona - 3 shutout, double, groundout, wild pitch to allow a run in the 4th, all he allows in 5 1/3 IP
  • July 19th - vs SD - 4 shutout, 5th flyout, walk, HBP, K, double steal, int walk, single (2 runs), K, one more shutout inning then pulled.
  • July 30th - vs LAA - in trouble each of first 3 innings, gives up run in 3rd, all he gives up over 6.
  • Aug 5th - vs RedSox - 3 shutout innings (Just 1 hit), then single, single, home run. Pulled in 6th after HBP/Double no more runs.
  • Aug 18th - vs Cin - 5 2/3 IP 1 H 4 BB 8 K 0 runs on 100 pitches
  • Aug 24th - vs Balt - 9 up 9 down, single, flyout, 2 run home run in 4th, 5th worse - single, home run, K, single, single, single (run scores extra runner out at plate), single, flyout. Goes one more shutout inning
  • Sept 4th - vs A's - 4 shutout, home run in 5th, home run in 6th, pulled.
  • Sept 10th - vs KC - 5 shutout, triple, walk (a CS), double scores run, SB, ground out scores 2nd run, shutout inning in 7th.
  • Sept 15th - vs RedSox - 7 shutout, 5 H 0 BB 8 SO
  • Sept 27 - vs NYY - 3 perfect innings, then walk, home run, 2 outs, 2 singles, out. 5th K, single, K, Int Walk (Judge), walk, single 2 more score, one more shutout inning
So that last start is probably what was fresh in the Jays braintrusts mind - going 3 perfect then a walk followed by a 2 run HR (Judge) and that was the game as it would've been had the same script been followed this time - we got the same end result (2 runs in the inning).

Issue #2: Why Kikuchi over Mayza or Cabrera? Over Kikuchi's last 4 games in relief last year he went 6 1/3 IP 1 H 0 R 2 BB 10 K. He inherited 7 runners in total as a reliever and didn't allow any to score. Given he sucked last year and was good this year I can see why they thought he'd do well this time. His first 8 relief games stunk in 2022 but he was stinking then anyways (308/400/673 batting against him, 7.50 ERA in 12 IP). I was very annoyed at the time but looking at 2022 I can see why they expected Kikuchi to do well.

Issue #3: Communication - this one bugged me the most in retrospect. No excuse for not letting the team know the plan going in. It clearly was 3 IP for Berrios, then the pen takes over. That someone would be ready in each inning if any signs of weakness happened. Given the speed with which they pulled him in the 3rd I'm hoping Kikuchi was told pre the 4th inning that he'd be going in to face the LH hitters regardless of what Berrios did with the leadoff hitter. Looking at GameDay you can see that ball 4 to the 2nd hitter was damn close to being a strike (in the gray zone above the strike zone where it often is 50-50 depending on the ump). Why the hitters didn't seem to have a clue that this was likely is beyond me. Pre-game Schneider had to know this was the plan and reports are the pitchers involved knew but Merrifield & Vlad have been clear that they didn't know. This is something that has happened in the majors for decades (I remember the Royals doing this to Bobby Cox in the 1985 ALCS as he was a strict platooner here thus easy to manipulate). Most players if they know ahead of time can accept the logic - this is do-or-die, we want 3 innings from Berrios at full throttle, then our A1 pen will take over. Make it so scoring 1 run will win it then manage that way. The players would have accepted it and played it that way. Today's managers need to be communicators, that is their #1 job - get the demands from the front office into the players ears and execute them. Having a stack of players not knowing what is going on is unacceptable imo and that would be my #1 complaint to John Schneider in any post-season meetings depending on how the front office had communicated to him - if they told him to only tell the pitchers for some bizarre reason then he should be pushing back hard on that especially now that the players have come out in the media about it.

Bottom line to me? The plan wasn't a bad one, it just didn't work. It has been done in the past and will be done again in the future. The big issue is the players didn't all know it was happening or why. Berrios showed me he is a real team guy though as he was on the bench pushing everyone and never said a bad word to the media about it even though it would've been easy to.
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GabrielSyme - Friday, October 06 2023 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#438850) #
A few points:

Firstly, Berrios was better in game 2 than he was in most of the scoreless beginnings highlighted. 5 Ks and 1 walk, nothing hard hit, didn't allow a fly ball.

Secondly, Berrios had arguably his strongest month in September, with an xFIP under 3 and a FIP just over 3.

Thirdly, I think if you're going to so dramatically deviate from conventional wisdom, not only do you need to communicate clearly, you need a far clearer advantage than Kikuchi gives you even under the best argument for Kikuchi in that spot.
uglyone - Friday, October 06 2023 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#438854) #
yeah there has to be an ability to believe that a pitcher isn't always the same, and can be pitching well or pitching poorly on any given day, not just a robot that does well or poorly based on matchups.

Gausman was all over the place in game 1. Pulling him was more than fine. Berrios was dealing, and Kikuchi is a box of chocolates.
Nigel - Friday, October 06 2023 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#438855) #
One of these decisions was a massive mistake by the FO:

- signing Berrios to a 7/131 extension; or
- pulling him in Game 2 believing he couldn’t get through the order a 2nd time

I think it’s obvious that the second was the massive screw up but your mileage may vary. What’s indisputable is that one was a massive error.
Mike Green - Friday, October 06 2023 @ 03:31 PM EDT (#438856) #
Kikuchi, by the way, has pitched quite a bit better this year and over his career at home.  And particularly against LHBs.  I don't know whether you would call a game in Minnesota an away game for Berrios....There's only so much data analysis can tell you, except that he has always pitched well at Target Field. 
The_Game - Friday, October 06 2023 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#438866) #
The problem is not making a pre-game plan based on the numbers. The problem is being unable to deviate from that plan to account for what is actually going on in the game.

This is the 2nd time in 4 seasons now where they've done this now. The first time just didn't receive anywhere near the same amount of criticism because it was Matt Shoemaker dominating on the mound and the team had no expectations of winning anyway.

It's a strange place we've reached in this sport where the results of the actual baseball game being played aren't having any bearing on the decisions made in the baseball game.
Magpie - Friday, October 06 2023 @ 06:17 PM EDT (#438868) #
I was with Buck Martinez on this one. I know how Berrios is pitching. I don't know how the next guy will do. I do understand you need to believe in your players, even the one who is a box of chocolates. (I agree completely!) But I'd start by believing in the fellow you chose to put on the mound in the first place.

And yet... "Who are you going to believe, Mr Manager? The numbers? Or your lying eyes?"
uglyone - Friday, October 06 2023 @ 07:29 PM EDT (#438870) #
John Northey - Friday, October 06 2023 @ 10:17 PM EDT (#438873) #
This is a case of I see and understand the logic, but still disagree with the choice.

Having someone get ready every inning just in case made sense, given the horrid offense the Jays showed in the last chunk of the season. Having a plan to pull no matter what after 3 innings seemed extreme though. I'd have tried for 6 innings with someone getting ready in the 2nd and beyond - soft tossing then getting serious if/when a guy got on base. Kikuchi should've been a 'start a clean inning after things go kaka' though. Yeah, he was perfect at saving baserunners in 2022 but he has been a solid starter all year and asking him to do something he hadn't in a year during the playoffs with high pressure seems a poor choice.

Rule #1 - put your players in positions where they have the highest odds of success. The Twins don't have Judge, and the hitter who was scariest (due to game 1) was on base already. Use a reliever with experience and success with runners on in 2023 - Mayza would've been ideal there, the most success recently and tons of experience in that situation. Use someone else in the next inning (Kikuchi) and beyond if you must pull Berrios.

If the Jays were scoring runs (say lost game 1 5-4 or something like that) then they'd have been feeling safer to leave in Berrios, Vlad (and Bo in game 1) wouldn't have felt the pressure to do high risk things on the bases, etc.
bpoz - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 09:06 AM EDT (#438875) #
This method was used all season it seems. The analytics dept made the managing decisions. The players were aware of that and disagreed. Now they are speaking out. Our young core are talking among themselves I expect.

It all depends on what Shapiro's philosophy is I believe because I always suspected that he ran the club with Atkins following his decisions/guidelines. Also the farm would be following his directives. He is an experienced baseball man so he knows a lot. But as others have pointed out the plan of the analytics dept seems very inflexible. If the pitcher is doing very well, do you still pull him?

For comfort I have been thinking what Cito would do. I admire him a lot. And he had success. He has demonstrated that he would disagree with the GM on how his team would be run. I remember 2010 when the Jays went to a 6 man rotation. Cito said that SPs were creatures of habit and routine and the extra day off was affecting their performance. So if you want a young prospect to get his feet wet then 1 of the others would have to be shut down. Cito communicated that clearly.
uglyone - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#438879) #
Well Atkins just threw Schneider completely under the bus for this move.
scottt - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#438881) #
If I am a videogame manager, I don't think I make that move.
It's too hard a move too make.

On the other hand, it was now or never for Kikuchi.
They don't bring him in to face right bats and he had been warming up for 3 innings.
Also, it's not possible to make the same move later, the point being getting some hitters out of the game early.
As we learned, bringing Mayza with the bases loaded is even worse.
The decision was made at least an inning earlier and the right move there would have been to sit Kikuchi for the next day.

Also, half of the failure is on Berrios.
If he doesn't walk his last hitter, the same sequence doesn't lead to a run scored.
Is it possible that Kepler still smoke a ball past Biggio?
At that point it was runner on first, no outs with left/left/right/left bats coming up.

The failure to score a run is what's on my mind.
I'm sure Merrifield was upset that Berrio got pulled but that doesn't account for Belt not getting a hit.

It seems that hitters can play for years in the NL but the moment they come to Toronto, they're in a better league with better scouting and the hole in their swing, the type of pitches they struggle with because exposed.
Is it time for a new hitting coach?

Gerry - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#438885) #
Atkins throws Schneider under the bus but then says Schneider will be back.

I don't know what happened but Schneider is not going to contradict Atkins now.
Paul D - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#438886) #
Atkins might have been as direct as he's been in 8 years in saying that it was Schneider's decision
bpoz - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 11:50 AM EDT (#438887) #
Merrifield basically said that Schneider does not have complete authority to make decisions. The question is do any of us believe Merrifield.

The players need to believe in the manager.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#438889) #
I just watched the clip on Sportsnet with Atkin's press conference so I guess it wasn't the whole thing, and I expected him to say nothing with many words, but I can't believe his attitude with regard to the playoff outcome.

For those that didn't see it, he was asked if he ever saw a situation where a pitcher, performing very well, was lifted so early. Atkins said it was "unique". Well, no, if you watch John Schneider you will have seen several such unique decisions in the past. When asked if he thought it was the right decision to take out a pitcher who was pitching well. Atkins said it was the right call since Minnesota only scores 2 runs in the game. What??? Maybe they would have scored no runs if Berrios was left in longer. Did you ever think of that, Ross?

Personally I'm more ticked off now than when it happened. I would like, for a change, for somebody in management to say, " Look, we are embarrassed to not even win a single game in 3 playoff series. Clearly we need to change things up, and approach how we manage the team better. We recognize we have a huge, very supportive fan base and we feel badly for letting them down. This will not continue."

Instead, it's just more of the same dribble. " We just need to trust the process." Ross, the process isn't working. " We accumulate the information and funnel it down to John to use as he sees fit." Is it possible to be paralyzed by too much information? To lose the feel of what is actually happening in front of you and instead be relying on statistics that begin," 73 % of the time when a left-handed batter if facing a left-handed hitter --."

Sorry for the rant, but this lack of accountability by management is really getting to me. It's just like they are saying, " We believe in what we're doing and one of these years it's going to work." Well, frankly, I don't see any signs that it's going to.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#438890) #
During the game, Schneider did not look like someone who wanted to make the move to pull Berrios. Check out his body language in the moment. At a minimum, even if Schneider wasn’t ordered to make the move, it appears that he believed the front office wanted him to do it

Atkins saying that the move ultimately worked out for the Jays is weak. It’s easy to imagine Berrios throwing 5-7 shutout innings and the bullpen shutting Minnesota down from that point on. It’s like his “42 years of control!” comment a few years ago. He just doesn’t seem to get it.

He and Shapiro and Schneider are all very good at one thing, though — self-preservation.
The_Game - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#438891) #
It's not a lie if they know the truth, remember?

At least JP was actually good at this approach. Atkins clearly still has a lot to learn in that regard based on how desperate that press conference was.
The_Game - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#438893) #
Blue Jays wanted six innings out of Shoemaker / Ray, per Montoyo. They got it with one run allowed.

Montoyo: "It was just like how we mapped it out. 1-0 in the sixth — I'll take it any time."

I wonder who the "we" was that Montoyo was referring to three years ago. It's a real mystery now.
uglyone - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#438894) #
Blue Jays Presidents

* P.Gillick 17yrs
* Shapiro/Atkins 8yrs
* J.Ricciardi 8yrs
* G.Ash 7yrs
* A.Anthopolous 6yrs
* P.Bavasi 1yrs
uglyone - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#438896) #
GMs i mean
Magpie - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#438897) #
Paul Beeston (and others) want a word. GMs, not Presidents!

Anyway, I have a question. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that Atkins was telling the truth and he was as surprised as the rest of us.

Why were the players so surprised?

uglyone - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#438898) #
Atkins blamed Schneider for not communicating well enough with the players.
Nigel - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#438900) #
Atkins isn’t even good at lying.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#438901) #
Atkins calling Schneider’s decision to pull Berrios “courageous” is Orwellian.
Nigel - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#438902) #
That performance makes me long for the Interbrew days:(
John Northey - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#438903) #
The panic over the playoff losses is understandable - no one likes losing 6 straight over 4 years. But, during the regular season the Jays lost 5 in a row this year twice, 5 in a row twice in 2022, once in 1992, 6 in a row in 1993 once, 6 in a row once in 1985 even (99 win team). Now, the O's never lost more than 4 in a row this year (I was surprised), the Rays had a 7 game losing streak this year, Atlanta 4 times had a 4 game losing streak. Losing streaks happen even to great teams. This one just happens to be spread over a 4 year period in tiny 2 game chunks. Minnesota just broke an 18 game losing streak in the playoffs that lasted a generation.

Basically, I agree with Atkins - it is a process and if you keep doing it you'll be fine long term. Yeah, it sucks losing in the playoffs but really, a best of 3 game series is not that meaningful in baseball. If it was a 7 game series then Berrios would've been left in as no one would've been warming in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd innings. I figure at some point MLB will need to look at cutting back some of the randomness and get to 7 game series across the board, with a cut in the regular season to open up the time for it (say, a 154 game season again instead of a 162 one) - that would allow 4 more teams to go into the playoffs after expansion and making all series best of 7. So an NHL/NBA level of 16 teams in the playoffs, 8 per league of 16 with just 2 divisions of 8 in each to cut back on the risk of poor teams sneaking into the playoffs due to weak divisions then getting lucky and knocking out better teams by winning 2 straight. Potentially 7 x 4 = 28 playoff games potentially or a full months worth.

As far as I'm concerned it is a 2 season format as is - regular and post-season. One is a long haul prove your value the other a short sprint for tons of glory.
BlueJayWay - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#438904) #
Atkins might have been as direct as he's been in 8 years in saying that it was Schneider's decision

It might be the first time he's ever said anything publicly so directly. The fact that he didn't give his usual hand-wavey politician non-answer when he easily could have is significant. If it's a lie it would be very easy to prove (all it would take is one leak from someone in the know) and his credibility is gone. And it's hard for me to believe he would step in it so blatantly if that's the case.
Gerry - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#438905) #
Often definitive answers ignore technicalities.

The Jays have an analytics department. I am sure the analytics team had input into how to approach the game. If not, why are they there?

One possibility that Schneider was told by analytics that this was the best approach. Schneider knows the analytics guys report to Atkins. So he went with it.

Atkins then has deniability personally when it could be someone who reports to him who made the suggestion.

Schneider can say it wasn't him, Atkins can say he didn't know and we are left with an organization where no one is standing up and taking responsibility and everyone is looking to cover their asses, not a healthy situation.
Magpie - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#438906) #
That performance makes me long for the Interbrew days:(

Do you know what you're saying? There was free beer in the press box before they took over.
Gerry - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#438907) #
John Schneider now has to go into hiding until spring training. If he appears he will be endlessly asked about this. Managers usually go to the winter meetings, will the Jays let him speak or will he take one for the team (and his job).
Mike Green - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#438908) #
Dan Shulman said at the outset of the broadcast that Yusei Kikuchi was in play. Then they had Kikuchi warming in the second inning, and Cabrera in the third inning. It was pretty obvious that the leash was very, very short.

However, if there's a plan to take Berrios out by the time the 4th batter comes up for the second time, no matter how well he is pitching, this should be communicated to the players. Significantly in advance of the game. They're on your team and surprising them isn't a good idea.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#438909) #
Atkins has had a valuable few days to get his story straight. Note he said he’s had a lot of discussion with Schneider over the last 24 hours.

It’s also worth noting that after game 2, Schneider did not take complete ownership of the decision to pull Berrios. He referenced the organization’s strategic thinking for that situation.

I actually think Schneider was quite shrewd in his post-game comments. He took enough responsibility to take the heat off the front office, but left some wiggle room suggesting that pulling Berrios at that point was somebody else’s idea — suggesting that Schneider might not have made the move on his own. Again, self-preservation.

He exhibited similar savvy when talking about Vladdy’s baserunning blunder, suggesting that coaching staff had properly prepped the players for that situation — the implication being that Vladdy was uniquely at fault for the devastating pickoff.
uglyone - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 02:00 PM EDT (#438911) #

"I know players went into John's office after the game and basically said we know it wasn't your decision to pull Berríos."

- Dan Shulman on Blair & Barker yesterday.

— Damon (@Varsh0AA) October 7, 2023
Shulman risking his job?
electric carrot - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#438912) #
I fear that I am alone in thinking that this molehill is growing into an ever bigger mountain. I honestly don't think anybody needs to tell your hitters what the pitching strategy is. It just seems like it gives them one more thing to think about that they don't need to think about. Maybe it was just an idea and nobody was exactly sure how it was going to play out. Why burden everyone with this info? The fact that Kikuchi went in doesn't seem like a mistake of gargatuan proportions either. I think it's defensible as an idea and it really did not affect the end result. Getting picked off 2nd base -- that's the crucial moment in the game in my mind and that moment is more deserving of the rumination the pitching swap is getting.
Nigel - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#438913) #
I’m sure the words never left the lips of Atkins “John you must pull Berrios in the 4th”. But Gerry has almost certainly described it properly - there was an organizational decision about pulling Berrios early, driven by analytics, that was made before Game 2. That’s entirely consistent with how the team was run and managed throughout the year. For Atkins to stand up there today and say what he said is breathtaking. As someone who’s been in senior management for the past twenty years it honesty makes me incredibly angry to see people in positions of leadership be so cowardly. I have to check out on this organization for a while. There are dark days ahead for this franchise.
Magpie - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#438914) #
I honestly don't think anybody needs to tell your hitters what the pitching strategy is. It just seems like it gives them one more thing to think about that they don't need to think about.

They don't need to know, but they should. It's a team. You're in it together, you're all part of it. They don't need to think about it, but they ought to know about it.
Magpie - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 02:25 PM EDT (#438915) #
I know this is from Yes, Minister

"Everybody's playing 'pass the parcel'"
"Can you blame them? You can hear it ticking."

I can't remember who said "Success has a thousand fathers, but failure is always an orphan."
Mike Green - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#438916) #
What music is playing while the parcel is being passed?  I nominate Chuck Berry's "It Wasn't Me". 

Avoidance of difficult conversations is not a good managerial trait at any level. 
Polite Nate - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#438917) #
The circle of finger pointing can be squared. Atkins can say "look, our strategy team gives the coaching staff a game plan but it's not like we put a gun to Schneider's head, he can go off script if he wants" while Schneider can say "look we have all sorts of game plans given to us and we are trying to follow the best one and avoid being tempted to go off of gut feelings" and everybody gets to think it's not their fault.
I'm on team molehill though. 1 extra base hit between the two games. Held the Twins to two runs over nine, 5 over 18. Can't count on winning 0-0.
Chuck - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#438918) #
I'm on team molehill though.

I think there are two things being conflated, and for good reason. But they need to be seen separately.

Did the team lose specifically because of the Kikuchi decision? Almost certainly not. They didn't score any damn runs. So a molehill, in that regard.

Are there signs of organizational dysfunction? Sure seems that way. And that is much bigger than a molehill.

Mike Green - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#438919) #
The point isn't that this decision was the key part of the series, but rather it exposed a management style.    And it's not a pretty picture. One can see how the poor Manoah decisions might have happened, with no one really saying "this is or is not what is in the best interests of the club" and deciding accordingly.  We don't have Pete Walker, John Schneider and Ross Atkins in a press conference talking about that, and we are left to infer from what we do see. 
Nigel - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#438920) #
Yes Minister - one of the best pieces of satire ever put on tv

To give you some idea of the cowardice here - imagine on Thursday or Friday (as James W pointed out on the other thread you knew how scared Atkins was by when they chose to do this) Atkins said “this was an organizational decision. Many people had input. But I’m the head of the ship and I take responsibility. I stand behind the idea but we’re going to look at how we arrived at it, how we communicated it and how we executed it. At the end of the day it isn’t the reason we lost but enough questions are raised we have to look at everything this offseason. I’m proud of how Berrios dealt with it, how John has handled this and I support everyone involved. If you have difficult questions about it ask them of me”. How hard was that message? How much backbone do you have to have to say something like that? Not much. Everyone involved including fans would feel better. But nope. Just add to the chaos.
Mike Green - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#438921) #
Coke (non-Zero) to Chuck.
Magpie - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 03:28 PM EDT (#438922) #
One possibility that Schneider was told by analytics that this was the best approach. Schneider knows the analytics guys report to Atkins. So he went with it.

Yeah, but they all report to Atkins. Schneider reports to Atkins too. Would Philip Seymour Hoffman let Jonah Hill tell him what to do?
Chuck - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 03:31 PM EDT (#438923) #
Would Philip Seymour Hoffman let Jonah Hill tell him what to do?

Could FBI agent Burt Macklin be taught to play first base?

Magpie - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#438924) #
Yes Minister

Which first popped into my head when Atkins described the Berrios move as a "courageous decision."

As fans of the show remember, a brave decision is one that will lose votes. A courageous decision is one that will lose the election.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#438925) #
I think there are a few ways the decision to pull Berrios might have affected the outcome of the game:

-Berrios might have pitched some additional scoreless innings and the game could plausibly have gone to extra innings tied 0-0, giving the Jays a roughly 50% chance of winning at that point

-Had Berrios continued to keep the game scoreless for one or more additional innings, the Jays hitters might have been more productive, instead of tightening up and underperforming in the face of a yet another runs deficit

-Minnesota’s two-run rally may have occurred in part because of the boost in confidence they received when they saw Berrios getting pulled
Magpie - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 03:47 PM EDT (#438926) #
Or Berrios might have suddenly given up a home run with someone on base, just as he did against the Red Sox and the Yankees after breezing first time through the lineup.

The whole thing is not so much about Game 2 as about how the organization functions. Even if everyone is being perfectly and completely honest - and hey, I'm a trusting soul, I can go there - it seems pretty clear to me that, at the very least, the internal lines of communication - between the front office, the game management group, the support staff, and the players - do not seem to be working as effectively as one would wish.
Gerry - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 03:47 PM EDT (#438927) #

Would Philip Seymour Hoffman let Jonah Hill tell him what to do?

No, and where was Hoffman when the dust settled? Schneider might not be ready for that outcome.

Magpie - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#438928) #
The Mets do need a manager.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#438929) #
Atkins basically said that the reason the Jays lost was the team’s offense. But Minnesota only scored two runs in game 2. And those came immediately after Berrios was pulled (infield hit, walk, base hit, run-scoring groundout — all off Kikuchi). Minnesota’s offense against Blue Jays pitchers was otherwise non-existent in the game.

We’ll never know how Berrios would have done in the middle innings, but we do know that he looked terrific, his pitch count was low, and he was pitching in an environment where he is very comfortable and has a long track record of success.
uglyone - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#438930) #
"The whole thing is not so much about Game 2 as about how the organization functions"

Nigel - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#438931) #
In the most literal sense, Atkins is almost certainly telling the truth. I’m sure he didn’t text the dugout with one out in the 4th and tell Schneider to pull Berrios. But in substance of course it’s a grand lie. It’s farcical, cowardly and, worst of all, it lacks grace. We’re rolling our eyes at this - I keep thinking all day “can you imagine how people inside the organization - who really know - must be feeling?” If you’ve ever worked for a boss like Atkins has shown himself to be - you know it’s literally the worst.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#438932) #
Next year Schneider will overcompensate to protect his reputation, leave the SP in too long, and lose the WC series again :)
Magpie - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#438933) #
In this corner, those new-fangled analytics boys with their spreadsheets and their modern thinking...

In this corner, the crusty old manager spitting tobacco juice on your shoe...

Nah, that doesn't play. No one needed analytics to know that the Twins had a couple of dangerous LH bats who were also strictly used as platoon players. We were talking about it here before the series started, and we're just a bunch of idiots on the internet. I'm coming around to the view that this was cooked up by Schneider and his staff, Atkins really was as surprised as everyone else, and we have just witnessed his typically clumsy effort to support and justify it. Talking to the world is not one of his strengths.
uglyone - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#438934) #
I'm somewhat sympathetic to the idea of flipping the lineup around but then if you're comfortable using kikuchi to flip them around in the 4th inning why not use him to do that in the 7th.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 05:33 PM EDT (#438935) #
The Mets do need a manager.

The Mets need a miracle.

Nigel - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 06:02 PM EDT (#438936) #
Dan Shulman knew before the game started but Atkins didn’t and was surprised like the rest of us? If that were true, and I don’t believe it, then that would suggest Atkins is either clueless or asleep at the switch.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#438937) #
There’s a TSN interview with Steve Phillips today in which he discusses Atkins’ comments to the media. His take is fair to Atkins and Schneider but he does describe pulling Berrios as the “wrong decision.” He also notes the need for changes to be made this off-season.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#438938) #
Ben Nicholson-Smith has a piece on Sportsnet about the press conference. Here are a few paragraphs:

* * *

When Atkins says the Blue Jays’ strategy “was effective,” it’s not convincing. Sure, the Blue Jays pitched well over the course of nine innings on Wednesday, but the inning in question here featured Yusei Kikuchi facing Carlos Correa with the bases loaded and ended with two runs across the board.

That’s hardly an “effective” transition from Berrios to the bullpen, even if pitchers who later entered did well. To suggest otherwise is to invite even more anger from a fan base that’s now seven years removed from celebrating its last playoff win. The strategy was surely designed with the best intentions. There were undoubtedly reasons for choosing it. But it didn’t work. That much should be obvious.

But as the conversation unfolded at Rogers Centre Saturday, there was something missing. In conversations with people around the game, no one beyond the Blue Jays has said they liked this move for Toronto given Berrios’ stuff and the fact that Kikuchi hadn’t pitched out of the bullpen all year. But if the Blue Jays made a mistake here, who was accountable for it?

Speaking after the Game 2 loss, Schneider said: “You can sit here and second-guess me, second-guess the organization, second-guess anybody. I get that.” So blame Schneider then? Or blame the organization? Blame anybody? Asked whether Schneider made a mistake, Atkins said no.
electric carrot - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 06:44 PM EDT (#438939) #
"Are there signs of organizational dysfunction? Sure seems that way. And that is much bigger than a molehill."

Listen, I'm fine if people want to spend time talking about proper form for corporate communications and where the power to make decisions lie, and how a CEO should act in the face of controversy, and who is responsible for what and where the power really should lie. But, I find it a little tedious myself. I presume that corporate communications is there to obscure the truth and make the organization look good no matter what the actual truth of the situation is. So, I rather enjoy it when the corporate team screws that up a little and the mask slips. But I still don't think it really means that much to be honest. I think the Blue Jays decision process is probably mostly the same as all the other clubs and this tiny slip of the mask is not really that revealing. Maybe some communications exec's head should roll. I don't know.
Magpie - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 06:47 PM EDT (#438940) #
I see it took Houston one freaking pitch to score as many runs against the Twins as the Jays managed in two games.
John Northey - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#438941) #
And in one game the Twins have almost scored as many as they did in 2 vs the Jays (4 so far vs Houston in 8 innings - nearly had the 5th but poor clutch hitting by 8/9 hitters, 5 in 2 games vs the Jays).
greenfrog - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 09:41 PM EDT (#438944) #
Shi Davidi’s latest piece on Sportsnet is worth reading as well.
Mike Green - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 09:46 PM EDT (#438945) #
Gabriel Moreno hit his 2nd homer of the post-season, this one off Clayton Kershaw. Rubbing it in.
John Northey - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#438946) #
Wow, Kershaw pounded for 6 runs and getting just 1 out? Who'd have thunk? 9-0 going to the bottom of the 2nd there. Insane. Arizona looking good on game 1. Texas beats Baltimore (kinda cheering for Texas there just because I find Baltimore annoying and they are the only team left who has never won a World Series. Astros look like the defending champions that they are, Philly shutting out Atlanta game 1 using the method the Jays tried in game 2 - pulling the starter part way into the 4th inning (53 pitches - he started 22 in the regular season averaging just over 5 1/2 innings per start).

So my 4 to cheer now are Arizona, Rangers, Phillies, and Minnesota (very weakly cheering them in their round - they haven't won since 1991). FYI: teams without a title ever: Tampa, Colorado, Seattle, San Diego, Milwaukee, Texas. Longest who have won at some point - Cleveland 1948, Pittsburgh 1979, Baltimore 1983, Detroit 1984, Mets 1986, A's 1989, Reds 1990, Twins 1991, Jays 1993, Arizona 2001. The last 3 to win a WS are all still playing (Houston, Atlanta, Dodgers). The Mariners are the only franchise to never play in the World Series. Teams longer than the Jays being out of it: Pittsburgh (1979), Milwaukee (1982), Baltimore (1983), A's (1990), Reds (1990), Twins (1991). So at least 4 years, probably more before the Jays could be the longest out of the World Series. Many more before they'd have the longest streak without a title (minimum 14 years). Cold comfort, but it is nice to know other fans have had longer 'we will never win' stretches. Poor Seattle, the Jays expansion twins. They even had our HOF GM run them for awhile, with more HOF'ers on the roster over time (Ichiro, Griffey Jr, Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, and A-Rod before his fall come to mind right away) - heck most were on the same team in the 90's even during their primes (not Ichiro but the rest) and one year they won 116 regular season games but they've never been even 1 game away from getting to the WS (2 wins in the ALCS is the closest in 1995 and 2000, 1 win in 2001). Want painful - 1996 they had 150+ OPS+ seasons from Griffey Jr, A-Rod, and Edgar Martinez, a 150 ERA+ from Jamie Moyer in 11 starts, Randy Johnson a perfect 5-0 but just 8 starts 6 relief games but just 85 wins overall. Crazy, but typical Seattle.

So who is everyone else cheering on, and why?
Dr B - Saturday, October 07 2023 @ 11:12 PM EDT (#438947) #
I'm on team molehill though.

Nice one, Polite Nate. Yay, Team Molehill!

E. Carrot writes:

I fear that I am alone in thinking that this molehill is growing into an ever bigger mountain

Not alone. I just have nothing useful to add. (More so than usual).
Polite Nate - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 12:26 AM EDT (#438948) #
Gritting my teeth and cheering for Texas over Baltimore. Minnesota over Houston. MIN/HOU over whoever wins on the other side.

Philly over Atlanta, I'll never cheer for Atlanta even with AA running them. Diamondbacks over LA. ARI over PHI, but PHI over LA.

If the world series is BAL v. ATL then I'm just not gonna watch.
Mike Green - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 08:26 AM EDT (#438949) #
All wild-cards would be good.

I don't really have rooting interests. I admire what Baltimore has done (finally). The Dodgers are the overdog, but have done a good job with their ample resources for a long time. I find it hard to root against them with any intensity- unlike the Yankees. Houston, meh.

I guess that the main excitement us watching young players like Corbin Carroll, Evan Carter and Gunnar Henderson in their first post-seasons. Youth will be served.
Mike Green - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 08:36 AM EDT (#438950) #
BP has a requiem for a team on the Blue Jays for subscribers only.  The lede:
"Toronto's postseason summarized: Nothing, nowhere, all at once."
bpoz - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#438951) #
I learned a lot this year about how the Jays manage their games and maybe other teams do similar things. Very inflexible IMO. ie Have someone in the pen warming up early when the starter is having a good game.

Atkins provided a good to very good rotation. Good Manoah which did not happen. Gauseman, Berrios, Bassit, the recovered Ryu and Kikuchi who was having a good year. The pen was good too and was strengthened by the addition of Cabrera and Hicks. The offense was poor. KK had a good year and Vasho gave us what we expected sort of. The O still was weak but we had a very good D. Atkins is expected to address the O/D this off season.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#438953) #
Here's hoping Houston eliminates the evil Twins.
jz6pwc - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#438959) #
I don't really care who's plan it was to replace Berrios with Kikuchi, it is ultimately the managers decision on what to execute based on performance and the opposing team reads.

Someone in the thread suggested watching Schneiders body language during the decision... I was at the time and what I thought I saw was him talking with Don and Pete about his decision and trying to convince them it was the right call to pull him. I don't think Pete Walker was in agreement. That was my interpretation at the time and if you can believe Ross today then it was pretty accurate.

Either way, if our Field Manager can't make the right and easy in game decisions then we need someone who can. If your GM can't solve an major and obvious weakness of a contending team all year long, then we need a different GM.

Looks like we will get neither of those things.
Gerry - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 02:08 PM EDT (#438961) #
Shapiro has his press conference on Thursday. The PR team are going to be very busy over the next few days.
Mike Green - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 02:34 PM EDT (#438964) #
If there were to be a GM change, who would announce it? I have assumed Shapiro.
vw_fan17 - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 04:01 PM EDT (#438967) #
Here's hoping Houston eliminates the evil Twins.
How are the Twins evil? Houston had a cheating scandal. I'd call the 'stros "evil" before the Twins. The Twins only sin is running into a stone-cold team - I don't think there's ANY matchup (of the current playoff card entrants) that we could have beat, playing the way we did..
scottt - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#438969) #
Correa had more to do with the cheating scandal than anyone left in Houston.
scottt - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#438971) #
In extra innings the home team has a huge advantage.

We also know what Berrios has done all season long.
1-3 innings .589 OPS.
4-6 innings .800 OPS.

The 3rd inning has been his best, followed by the second and then the first.

1st time through the order, .635 OPS.
2nd time, .664 OPS.
3rd time, .845 OPS.

Vs right bats, .616 OPS.
Vs left bats, .774 OPS.

It's just too bad Kikuchi had to come out with a runner on first.

Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 05:32 PM EDT (#438972) #
True, the Astros (and José Altuve) are specially villainous.
scottt - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#438973) #
Atkins talked about the poor offense.
He said that they need to counter the rule changes the league has made.
I didn't quite get that part.

soupman - Monday, October 09 2023 @ 03:35 AM EDT (#438977) #
The 2019 twins set a record for HR in a year with a squad of guys that mostly went back to being pumpkins after the sign stealing story leaked that offseason. I’m sure it was just a coincidence that they and other offences just stopped putting up 900+ runs like it was normal.
bpoz - Monday, October 09 2023 @ 08:36 AM EDT (#438978) #
What ever the Jays do this off season it seems the jobs of Shapiro, Atkins and Schneider are safe.

This massive blunder and bad method of game management (pulling a SP early who is pitching very well) may impact the Jays ability to sign any good FAs this off season. Fortunately their main priority should be better game management not player acquisition. The FO will discuss this in detail and make necessary adjustments.

I see our current talent and depth as being quite good. On paper #5-8 SP is not yet established. Not much needs to be done for the pen. The KK/Varsho D was elite but at the cost of a big bat in LF. The D with Varsho in CF should still be very good. A defensive specialist like Cam Eden should help in the late innings and as a part time starter.

I would like to see an infusion of youth next year because I don't see being one of the playoff teams a priority. Seattle and the 2021 Jays are examples of successful teams IMO. The added youth does not mean that the 2024 Jays will definitely not make the playoffs.
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