The Toronto Blue Jays were shockingly eliminated early with two straight losses. Hyun-jin Ryu’s (36) season came to an end.
Toronto fell to the Minnesota Twins, 0-2, in Game 2 of the American League Wild Card Series (ALWC) of the 2023 Major League Baseball World Series at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Friday (May 5).
A no-hitter turned into an early exit for starter Jose Berrios after three innings and 47 pitches. The offense suffered from a lack of cohesion as well, with nine hits and no runs scored.
After a 1-3 loss in Game 1, Toronto dropped Game 2 and was eliminated early with a two-game sweep. They were unable to capitalize on their offense, and drank in the bitter taste of elimination helplessly. This was the end of Ryu’s four-year contract with Toronto.
Berrios no-hitter, Kikuchi pulled in fourth inning
Through three innings, Toronto starter Jose Berrios and Minnesota starter Sonny Gray were locked in a tight pitching battle. But in the fourth inning, Berrios went down first. After allowing a single and a walk in the first three innings, Berrios was quickly replaced by Yusei Kikuchi from the bullpen after an eight-pitch battle with leadoff hitter Royce Lewis.
He had only thrown 47 pitches in the no-hitter, but Toronto manager John Schneider decided to make a quick pitching change, not one, but two beats later. Berrios had pitched at least four innings in all 32 regular-season games this year, but was pulled after just three innings. In addition to a sinker that topped out at 97.2 mph (156.4 km/h), he threw a slurve (10), changeup (21), and four-seam fastball (7).
It was an elimination game and Toronto needed to go all out, but it didn’t work out. Making his first bullpen appearance of the season, Kikuchi gave up an infield single to Max Kepler, a walk to Donovan Solano, and a bases-loaded single to Carlos Correa.
In the ensuing bases-loaded jam, he got pinch-hitter Gleyber Castro to ground out to shortstop for a 6-4-3 double play, allowing a runner to score from third. Kikuchi was charged with one run on three hits and one walk in 1⅔ innings until the bottom of the fifth. Berrios took the loss, allowing one run on three hits and one walk with five strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings as the Toronto offense failed to get going. He remains winless in four postseason starts with a 2-2 record and a 3.60 ERA.
Toronto bats silent again, Guerrero Jr. a deadly deterrent
While the pitching change from Berrios to Kikuchi proved unsuccessful, Toronto’s bullpen had already held strong with Garcia (1⅓ innings), Eric Swanson (⅔ innings), and Jordan Romano (1⅓ innings) without allowing another run. The deciding factor was the bats. For the second game in a row, the bats came up empty. In the first inning, Cavan Biggio was hit by a pitch with runners on first and second, and in the second inning, Dalton Bashaw’s sacrifice bunt was followed by a George Springer single to right field to end the inning.
In the fifth, Springer’s single and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s walk put runners on second and third. With pinch-hitter Bo Bissett at the plate, Guerrero was caught stealing second by pitcher Gray. The tag was made perfectly by shortstop Correa, who covered second base. Guerrero waved his hands and asked for a video review, but was ruled out. It was a play that really threw cold water on the game.
After blowing a chance with the blown call, Toronto loaded the bases with one out in the sixth with three straight singles by Biggio, Alejandro Kirk, and Santiago Espinal, but this time it was for the worst. Matt Chapman’s second pitch was fouled off the left field foul pole, and his third pitch was grounded out to shortstop, ending a 6-4-3 double play.
After back-to-back triple plays in the seventh and eighth innings, Toronto was unable to bring home Espinal after he led off the ninth with a single. Springer, Bisset, Kirk and Espinal each had two hits, but Guerrero went 0-for-3 and Brandon Belt went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. The offense was too lethargic, totaling just one run in the two games after six hits and one run in Game 1 and nine hits and no runs in Game 2. Toronto suffered an early exit from the wild-card series for the second straight year after being swept in two games by the Seattle Mariners last year.
Minnesota starter Gray earned the win, going five innings, allowing two runs on five hits with six strikeouts. The bullpen of Louis Balland (⅓ inning), Caleb Tilba (⅔ inning), Brock Stewart (1 inning), Griffin Jacks (1 inning), and Joan Duran (1 inning) combined for four scoreless innings. Correa went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, including the game-winning hit.
Minnesota, which advanced to the divisional round for the first time in 21 years since 2002, will host the AL West champion Houston Astros in a best-of-five series beginning Aug. 8.
Ryu Hyun-jin ends four-year contract with Toronto without a PS appearance
Ryu Hyun-jin was left off the roster for the Wild Card Series. There was no place for the fifth starter in the best-of-three wild-card series, which doesn’t require many starts. Ryu, whose style is not easily utilized as a bullpen arm, traveled with the team in preparation for the best-of-three Division Series and best-of-seven Championship Series, which require more starts.
But Ryu’s season came to an end without any more appearances as Toronto was eliminated early in the Wild Card Series with two straight losses. His four-year, $80 million free agent contract with Toronto also ended. While it’s unfortunate that fall baseball was cut short, it’s important to note that Ryu had a solid season.스포츠토토
In his four years in Toronto, Ryu went 24-15 with a 3.97 ERA and 269 strikeouts in 60 games (315 innings). He finished third in the AL Cy Young Award in his first year as an ace and led the team to fall ball for the first time in four years. He tied a career-high with 14 wins in 2021, but was lost for the season after just six games due to Tommy John surgery last June.
He rehabbed and returned to the big leagues in early August after a 14-month absence. In 11 games (52 innings), he went 3-3 with a 3.46 ERA and 38 strikeouts. He was limited to less than 90 pitches for injury control, but his steady delivery bodes well for a full-time return next season. Expect him to get a decent deal on the free agent market with a one-year deal.