Merrifield: ‘It’s a shame’ Blue Jays pulled Berríos

Merrifield: 'It's a shame' Blue Jays pulled Berríos

Whit Merrifield isn’t done talking about the Toronto Blue Jays’ decision to remove right-hander José Berríos from the season-ending American League wild-card series loss to the Minnesota Twins.

“I don’t want to throw anybody under the bus with it, but it was a shock,” the veteran utility player said Wednesday on “Foul Territory.”

Merrifield elaborated on why he said he hated the decision following the loss.

“I hated that José didn’t get a chance to go out and have that signature ‘I’m putting the team on my back, get out of my way’ type game,” the three-time All-Star said Wednesday.

“I thought he earned that chance. He was great for us all year, and he was absolutely dealing.”

The Blue Jays made the controversial choice to remove Berríos in the fourth inning in favour of left-hander Yusei Kikuchi. Berríos had allowed no runs on three hits and a walk. The Twins wound up scoring two runs in the fourth en route to a 2-0 victory, which advanced them to the ALDS.

Merrifield said he felt bad that Kikuchi was put into an unfamiliar situation. He noted the bigger issue was that the Blue Jays made a poor choice in evaluating what was happening in the game and focused too much on a predetermined plan.

“José was locked in, and I guarantee you if he cruised through that lineup again a second time, that third time, it wouldn’t have mattered because his stuff was sharp, and he was cruising, and he had that competitor, ‘get out of my way’ look in his eye,” Merrifield said.

“And I think a lot of times, that gets lost in the way we evaluate today’s game. It’s a shame.”

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said last Saturday he was “surprised” by the move, adding that manager John Schneider and his staff made the decision.

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