Toronto Blue Jays manager John Schneider’s choice was a sobering one. He sent a clear message that while player morale is important, the team is more important, and the result was a three-game winning streak after a four-game losing streak.
Ryu started the final game of the home three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre on April 18. A game that mattered. Not only was Ryu trying to snap a two-game losing streak, but the team was trying to win three in a row. After going to hell in a handbasket in midweek, dropping all four games against the Texas Rangers, Toronto bounced back by taking two of three from Boston. The wild card race is so tight that every game is like a final for Toronto.
Ryu has pitched well. He threw 4⅔ scoreless innings. With a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, Schneider pulled him with one out to win the game.
From a player’s perspective, this could have been a very unfortunate decision. Normally, managers don’t pull their starters with a lead. They’re trying to get the win, which is their primary goal for the game, so they’re going to respect the player’s wishes, especially if they’re an ace. There’s probably no athlete on the planet who wants to go down with one out to win.굿모닝토토
However, Schneider didn’t have the luxury of taking care of Ryu. As mentioned above, it was a must-win game. With runners on first and second, a hit by Ryu could have turned the tide of the game completely in their favor, and he took that risk out of the equation.
It was a brutal, but necessary call, because before he was pulled, Ryu was pitching on slick ice, allowing six hits and two walks. He was getting out of jams with help from his teammates and timely hits. As he approached 90 pitches, the manager must have had a “chill” feeling that he could leave Ryu in the game for a big hit. After the game, Schneider explained exactly why he made the change, saying, “It was a combination of Ryu’s pitch count and what he had pitched in the previous inning.”
Importantly, Ryu accepted it. “The player has to accept it. You have to trust the coaches’ judgment,” he said after the game. If the decision had been made earlier in the season, or when the team wasn’t fighting for a spot in the standings, it would have hurt his pride as a veteran player, but he knows better than anyone that every game is a final.