The Blue Jays are taking a huge risk by not starting Hyun-Jin Ryu in Game 1.
There’s a line between creativity and stupidity and the Toronto Blue Jays are flirting with it.
“They are one of the best teams in baseball, so we have to be creative,” Montoyo said. “Our ace will be pitching the second game, but they got like four aces over there!”
It’s a bold strategy against the top seed in the American League. Actually, it’s entirely too bold, putting the team at an unnecessary disadvantage.
The Blue Jays are overthinking their playoff pitching lineup.
Let’s start with the positive: Montoyo is going to give his ace an extra day of rest before he takes on Tyler Glasnow in Game 2 on Wednesday. Shoemaker is also coming off more rest having last appeared on Sept. 21.
The problem is there was likely a better solution than putting up a pitcher with a 4.71 ERA who just missed a month of action with a shoulder problem. Particularly one whose last postseason appearance was a loss with the Angels in 2014.
No offense to Shoemaker, but that’s a lot of weight to put on his shoulders.
If you’ve decided pitching Ryu in a decisive Game 2 is the way to go, then why not throw Taijuan Walker in for Game 1? He at least has a 1.37 ERA in six appearances. He last pitched on Sept. 25, so maybe the turnaround is too quick. That just brings us back to the decision to push Ryu’s start.
A lineup of Ryu, Walker and then Shoemaker with the support of the bullpen, if needed, simply makes more sense.
Yes, Game 2 is important, but Toronto is now looking at conceding Game 1, turning Game 2 into an absolute must-win and potentially leaving Walker out entirely.