Blue Jays to start Shoemaker in Game 1 vs. Rays; Ryu and Walker to follow

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo discusses why they’ve decided to go with Matt Shoemaker in Game 1 vs. the Rays, and save his ace, Hyun-Jin Ryu for Game 2 of the series.

Matt Shoemaker will get the ball for the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 1 of their series against the Tampa Bay Rays, manager Charlie Montoyo announced Monday.

Hyun Jin Ryu has been named the starter for Game 2 while Taijuan Walker will start in Game 3.

In six games this season, Shoemaker went 0-1 with a 4.71 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 28.2 innings of work, but also missed time with a right lat strain. He will go up against Blake Snell, who is getting the nod for Tampa Bay.

Montoyo explained the decision as a way to make sure the Blue Jays were in the best position to pick up the two wins they will need to take the series.

“In a three-game series, the goal is to win two of them. So putting our ace in the middle makes sense to us for certain reasons,” Montoyo said. “Plus, our bullpen is fully rested. We said we were going to be creative from the beginning. And that’s one of the reasons how we got here, being creative — and to be one of the best teams in baseball, we’re going to have to be creative.

“Also, when you look at their starters, they all get the extra days off because they clinched before we did,” Montoyo added. “So because we couldn’t clinch as soon as they did we’re also giving our ace an extra day.”

Ryu finished the 2020 season with a 5-2 record, 2.69 earned run average, and 72 strikeouts in 67 innings while Walker sported a 2-1 record, 1.37 ERA, and 25 strikeouts in 26.1 innings after being traded to Toronto.

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