Schneider on Guerrero being picked off: 'That can't happen'
The Minnesota Twins picked off Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at second base to end the fifth inning with two runners on in an eventual 2-0 season-ending loss Wednesday.
Manager John Schneider told reporters after the game that Guerrero's mistake went against the emphasis the Jays aimed to put on attention to detail at the beginning of the season.
"As much as we talk about it, we've talked about it since February 14th. I think that we can all look each other in the face and say collectively we fell short of executing what we wanted to do. It's not for lack of information or prep, in that moment that can't happen," Schneider said.
With the Jays down 2-0, Guerrero walked to give the Jays runners at first and second with two out and Bo Bichette up against starter Sonny Gray. Guerrero and lead runner George Springer each advanced on a wild pitch, moving runners to second and third. But with the count 3-2, Gray spun around and fired to second base before Guerrero slid back in time to end the Toronto threat and keep the Twins in front by two runs.
The Blue Jays challenged but the call was upheld after a brief review. It was also the fifth and sixth runners left on base by the Jays to that point. They ended up stranding a total of nine in the loss.
"It's tough. You've got arguably, probably your best hitter at the plate. [Gray] is at the end of his pitch count -- probably his last hitter -- it's tough," Schneider said.
"Things happen in baseball. Of course, you don't want that to happen, but it happened," Guerrero said through an interpreter.
Schneider said Guerrero's mistake was just one of the many things that went wrong for the Jays during the sweep.
"We needed [Matt Chapman] to have better direction on a couple balls off his bat. Needed to not get picked off second, needed to get big hits when we needed to. One run in two games, one extra-base hit isn't going to cut it."
Costly base running mistake in Game 1
Guerrero's gaffe was the second glaring mistake on the bases for the Blue Jays in the series. In Game 1 Tuesday, Bichette was thrown out at home plate as the final out of the top of the fourth inning trying to score from second on an infield single. The Blue Jays shortstop ran through a stop sign from third base coach Luis Rivera and said after the game he thought he was going to make it.
"I mean, I went because I thought I was going to be safe," he said. "I was being aggressive, but I thought I was going to be safe."
"I thought it was worth a chance," Bichette added. "I thought he'd have to make a great play to get me out and he did."
The Twins move on to play the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series with that series beginning on Saturday. It's Minnesota's first playoff series win since 2002, coming one day after they snapped their 18-game postseason losing streak in Game 1 against the Jays on Tuesday.