Interim manager John Schneider met with the media following the Blue Jays' loss to the Orioles on Monday. He discussed the difficulty of playing from behind, what he saw from Yusei Kikuchi, and what the plan is moving forward for the left-handed pitcher.
- Kikuchi today, did you see anything different from recent starts? Was there anything that stood out encouraging or different to you?
- A lot of strikes. Especially early, I thought he had good stuff. I know a little bit of bad luck from the first hitter with that bloop single that turned into a double. And close pitch to Santander on the walk and then a 2-run homer to Mountcastle. But it's frustrating for him, it's frustrating for us, but I thought overall his stuff was OK. And it's just limiting damage going forward.
- And with it being another short outing, I guess it's a different conversation in April, but when you balance patience and urgency, how do you do that at this point of the season with the options you have?
- Yeah, it's more urgency than patience right now. The season's getting short. So I think, if anything, it's a credit to the bullpen for being forced into the game early and doing a good job. And, hopefully, going forward those guys are throwing in those spots. And we're putting more runs on the board. So I think playing in sync is important and right now, we're not doing that. So that's got to change going forward too.
- John, just building up on the plan and sink that you just mentioned, for an offense that's having a tough time trying to click, what kind of impact does consistently having to dig out of holes have on the group?
- Yeah, it's tough. I think everyone tries to do a little bit too much in big spots. I really like Vladdy's at-bat on the 3-2 walk to get Degury out with the bases loaded single. We need to do more of that going forward and we need to put more runs on the board and not having guys pitch down by 4 when they should be pitching up by 2. That's basically what it is. We've got to take care of the ball, we've got to score more runs, and put guys in the right spots.
- In the fourth inning when the game unraveled, defense, a couple of defensive miscues were a part of that, happened a bit yesterday as well. It's a bit uncharacteristic for your group, what do you read into that?
- I don't read much into it. The work is good and the prep is good. And I think it's two not ideal games defensively back-to-back, which gets highlighted a little bit. But, overall, the defense has been great, I think. And with anyone on the mound, you need to play good defense against anyone in the Big Leagues. And today, we didn't do that.
- Hey John, just on Kikuchi. Obviously, we asked you before the game about a six-man rotation, you'll have that extra starter coming when Strip comes back. Is it on the table that Kikuchi could skip his next start and have more time to work on things?
- Yeah, I think everything's on the table right now. Again, we just want him to continue to focus on the things he's working on, but I think having options and having other guys that can step into roles is a good thing. And we'll figure that out in the next couple of days.