Toronto Blue Jays won’t pitch ace Ryu in playoff opener against Tampa Bay Rays

Toronto Blue Jays celebrate a 5-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles in a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Toronto Blue Jays are breaking away from baseball tradition as they gear up for their first playoff game in four years on Tuesday.

Toronto starts right-hander Matt Shoemaker in Game 1 of a best-of-three series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. The American League’s top-seeded team counters with 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell.

The Blue Jays are saving Hyun-Jin Ryu for Game 2, opting to give their ace an extra day of rest. If Game 3 is required, Toronto plans to go with Taijuan Walker, the team’s second most effective starter in recent weeks.

Read more: Rick Zamperin: Blue Jays will go the distance vs. Rays, Dodgers will go all the way

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo says his team needs to be creative to upset the Rays, who lost to Houston in the American League Division Series last year.

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Toronto grabbed the eighth and final American League playoff spot in the expanded post-season by finishing with a record of 32-28 in the COVID-19-shortened season.

Tampa ran away with the AL East title with a record of 40-20.

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