안전놀이터How does Toronto Blue Jays manager John Schneider view his team’s surge in the race for a wild-card spot?
In an interview ahead of the Blue Jays’ home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Saturday, Schneider was asked about his team’s surge in the wild-card race.
Seattle currently sits in the second wild-card spot with a 71-56 record, 1.5 games ahead of Toronto. They’ve knocked Toronto out of the race and into the postseason. It’s the result of a frightening 16-5 run in August.
Toronto coach John Schneider has expressed his belief that his team can turn the corner. Photo via AFPBBNews = News1
At the centre of the surge is Julio Rodriguez. In 19 games in the month of August, he is batting .405 with a .448 on-base percentage, .640 slugging percentage, four home runs and 23 RBIs.
“It’s discouraging to think about what J.Rod (Rodriguez’s nickname) is doing,” Schneider said, “but I think we’ve been in the same situation all season. We have talented players in that clubhouse. (Watching Seattle) makes you think that we can turn it around quickly,” he said, adding that he’s hopeful that they, like Seattle, can turn it around at any moment.
“It’s not just one guy, it’s a group of guys. It has to come together with the pitchers. That’s why we feel comfortable with where we are. I’m really excited for the rest of the season,” he said, expressing his hope that the Jays can turn the corner.
Starting with tonight’s opponent Cleveland, Toronto has a 15-game homestand against teams that are under five wins, including Washington Colorado Oakland Kansas City. It’s a great opportunity for them to rebound.
“The expectation is to win,” Schneider said emphatically when asked about the 15-game stretch. “It starts today. In a long season, at this time of year, for whatever reason, the emotions and the urgency can change very quickly. We expect to win a lot, not only in this series, but in the next two weeks or so. The players know that.”
Seattle overtook Toronto in August after a remarkable surge. Photo via AFPBBNews = News1
Toronto will start the game with the following lineup: Wee Merrifield (second base), Bo Bissett (shortstop), Brandon Belt (designated hitter), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (first base), George Springer (right field), Dalton Bashaw (left field), Matt Chapman (third base), Alejandro Kirk (catcher) and Kevin Kiermaier (centre field).
Schneider explained his decision to bat Springer in the fifth spot instead of first, saying, “He’s playing a protective role behind Bladdy (Guerrero Jr.),” and signalled that he will stick with the order for now.
Chad Green, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, will pitch in Triple-A over the weekend.
Asked if he’s waiting for September 1, when the roster expands, Schneider said, “Maybe. We’ll see how he throws and then we’ll decide.”