Blue Jays manager John Schneider met with the media after Monday's extra-innings victory over the Cubs. He discussed how badly the team needed a win, what Matt Chapman brings to Toronto, improved defence around the diamond and more.
- It started off a little bit slow offensively. But it ended obviously on a high note. How much did you need that? How much did you need that walk-off today?
JOHN SCHNEIDER: Yeah, that was a big win. I think every one is big. That was big today. I think, you know, at bats were good early and then kind of fell off a little bit against Assad. But you've got to give him credit for kind of sticking to what was working. And then a huge homer from Jano. It was the second time we had a couple of guys on with nobody out, kind of brought us to life a little bit there, and then kind of went from there.
You know, Chappy and Jano again in the 11th, Jackie hit the ball hard. You know, we had chances and just great that we capitalized late.
- We talked a lot about the defense and staying focused. It seemed like a good night defensively for you guys, especially with that double play by Bo there. What did you see defensively?
JOHN SCHNEIDER: Yeah, that was huge. I think it was pretty clean defensively. You look at Tapia throwing a guy out. You look at the catch George made. You look at Jackie throwing Franmil out on the blooper, you know, Bo's double play, obviously. Extra innings are so tough. You can get two outs on one pitch. That was huge.
Vladdy's play getting the out on the strikeout and then Jano tagging at home on Madrigal, who made a great play, you know, a lot of stuff. So I think you can keep it tight like that, we'll be in good shape.
- Just between the 10-pitched walk, the single to tie it, the plays at third base, how did Matt Chapman impact this game?
JOHN SCHNEIDER: Matt Chapman's a stud. We all know that. I think we kind of take for granted how good he is at third sometimes. He makes things that are not routine look routine, the 10-pitch walk to get us going, you know, the couple knocks. I mean, he's just a gamer. You know, he plays every single day. He's a leader in the clubhouse, really, really kind of got us going tonight. It was awesome.
- Did you feel like Jose Berrios had a bit of a hard luck outing?
JOHN SCHNEIDER: Yeah, for sure, I mean, he really battled, you know. It seemed like a bunch of hits, you know, some hard, some not. And I think when you look up at the end of his outing, he really, really battled. And I thought he had really good stuff, and, you know, tried to push him through the sixth there. And you know, like Timmy, and knew they were going to pinch hit. But you know, like Timmy there, too. But he's been, that's like three or four in a row Jose's been really good.
- Just on Jansen, he hit the home run in Boston and then one today, and obviously the winning RBI. Are you seeing signs that he's kind of getting back to who he was earlier in the season?
JOHN SCHNEIDER: Yeah, he's streaky like us, right? If we're streaky, yeah, I think that he's feeling pretty good, you know. It was a good road trip for him, and then tonight obviously a good night, and a good night yesterday, too. So if we can get contributions from him, you know, we love what he does behind the plate. We love what he does as a leader of the pitching staff. And if he's hitting like that that's a bonus.
- And just what Jordan was able to do, and then obviously Garcia coming in for the two innings, how big were those performances?
JOHN SCHNEIDER: I mean, Jordy, he's going about as good as anyone is in the league right now. He was awesome, shutting that down in the ninth, and the job that Yimi did, and people don't realize how hard that is with a runner at second base. So every pitch is absolutely high leverage that he threw tonight. His demeanor is phenomenal.
Under pressure he's just doesn't, he never gives. And he's been that way all year. The job that he did, you can't say enough about what he did tonight. He kind of just put it on his back and said, I got you guys.
- John, if I'm not mistaken, your offense had I think one strikeout over seven innings. When you're talking about trying to find consistency, how important, and what does that tell you, you know, about sticking to the approach and good things will come?
JOHN SCHNEIDER: Yeah, I mean, it was tough. It's, you know, you want to kind of grind the starter a little bit. And I think that we did a good job of that early. The hits didn't really come when we needed them to come. But if we can stay consistent, and I think one through nine continue to have a consistent approach, we'll be good, because obviously, this team is really, really talented.
- John, you spoke about what you liked at the plate and behind the plate from Danny, also the play where he and Vladdy teamed up to get Madrigal. How big a play did that turn out to be?
JOHN SCHNEIDER: Yeah, huge. I mean, a couple of outs on the bases that were pretty big, that we converted, that they kind of ran into. But that's a tough play from a catcher. You got a really fast guy coming who had a good break at third. You know, It's a heads-up play from Vladdy, not taking it for granted that he was going to go. Add any tag play at the plate is really tough for a catcher.
So I think right there that was kind of-- we were talking in the dugout, I think it was 2-0 at that time. And we kind of said, OK, that's a little bit of a break. Let's go, let's use it. It took a little bit to get there. And fittingly enough that it was Jano that kind of took advantage of it.
- On that blooper that fell in, did Jackie back off and give way to Espinal, and should he have?
JOHN SCHNEIDER: I didn't really see it. I mean, I had a weird view, and I haven't looked at it. But I think it's, you know, a couple of guys that are a little unfamiliar with it. You know, two obviously really, really elite defenders, and we were just happy that Jackie got it in and converted an out. So I got to check with them and kind of see what the communication was.
- And the weirdness of the extra inning rule popped up a little bit today. A leadoff double play, you had a leadoff RBI double in Boston, right?
JOHN SCHNEIDER: Yeah.
- What do you think of of how the game has changed with this?
JOHN SCHNEIDER: Nights like tonight I love it. You know, we won. So I think it's three in a row, and extras we've won. But it's tough, you know, it puts a lot of pressure on the pitcher. It puts a lot of pressure on the defense. It makes you think a couple batters ahead as to what you want to do. Like, we knew they were going to walk Kirky. We knew they were going to walk Chappy. So you got to be ahead of what your game plan is.
Yeah, I get it, that it speeds the game up. And it puts a lot of pressure on the defense and a lot of pressure on the pitchers. But, you know, tonight we came on the right side of it.
- Just back to Jansen's home run in the seventh, what was the dugout like after that?
JOHN SCHNEIDER: It was great. You know, I think, I don't know if the cameras caught it. But they were kind of coming to life there a little bit. And sometimes it takes one inning. I remember it was 10 days ago or something when we were grinding and I think I said, it takes one inning or one at bat or one game and you kind of get rolling. And, you know, I think that was kind of what you saw again tonight, after three tough games against Anaheim.
So they're pumped up. It starts with a walk. Tap gets a hit, Jano clips them. And, you know, and away we go. So it was a good time in there for sure.