José Berrios on early Wild Card pull: “We’ve Turned the Page”

Clarke Corsan
1 month ago
José Berrios had a 2023 season filled with highs and lows. The veteran pitcher was a key part of the Blue Jays rotation, pitching 189.2 innings and finishing with a 3.62 ERA along with 184 strikeouts in 189.2 innings, but his year will be remembered in part for being pulled in favour of Yusei Kikuchi in Game 2 of the Wild Card series against the Minnesota Twins.
Berrios entered the fourth inning after pitching a scoreless opening three, allowing just three hits while striking out five. He started the fourth by issuing a walk to Royce Lewis, which is when manager John Schneider made the call. Kikuchi would come into the game and allow the next three batters to reach base with two runs crossing the plate- giving Berrios the loss. The game ended 2-0 for the Twins, so there’s clearly more to this loss than the pitching change, but the move still left fans puzzled. 
“We had a few different plans in place,” Schneider had said after the game “José was aware of it. He had electric stuff, tough to take him, and I think with the way they’re constructed, you want to utilize your whole roster and it didn’t work out. You can look at it broadly and say it didn’t work out because they scored two runs when we did make a change, you can also look at the fact that it didn’t work out because we didn’t take advantage of at-bats we had with runners in scoring position.
Once and always professionally-mannered, it was unclear exactly how Berrios felt about the situation. However, speaking recently with reporters, Berrios emphasized the team’s mentality heading into 2023 is all about a fresh start.
“Everybody knows how last season ended, but we are grown men and we talked,” Berrios said. “We’re clear with everything. We turned the page already, and this is a great moment, a great opportunity to restart.”
The right-hander knows that playoff baseball presents unique challenges and sometimes even the best-laid plans can be upended. His focus, and that of the team, is on the present and the drive to make another strong postseason run.
Schneider will be counting on Berrios to play another big role in the rotation this season. His intensity and experience will be crucial in the high-stakes environment of playoff contention. 
While last year’s ending was disappointing, both Berrios and the Blue Jays seem energized about the opportunity presented by a new season. With a bolstered roster and the hunger for unfinished business, don’t be surprised if Berrios figures prominently in the Jays’ quest for a deeper postseason run in 2023.


Check out these posts...