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Blue Jays’ Alek Manoah confident Opening-Day woes are correctable with ‘easy adjustment’

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Photo credit:Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas Hall
10 months ago
Things certainly didn’t fall Alek Manoah’s way on Opening Day, but the Toronto Blue Jays ace isn’t overly concerned with the poor results during his first start of 2023.
Amid a thrilling 10-9 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, Manoah struggled to settle in against a potent lineup, allowing five earned runs on nine hits (career-high), two home runs and a pair of walks before departing with one out in the fourth inning. His first start of the campaign ended after 3.1 innings, tied for the second-shortest outing of his career.
Manoah completed at least five innings in all 31 of his starts last season, accomplishing that feat in 39 consecutive outings dating back to Aug. 23, 2021. Thursday’s disappointing performance, however, is just the fifth time in his career that he failed to reach that threshold, ending that impressive streak.
While this was one to forget for the 25-year-old, a few adjustments should help him bounce back during his next time out.
Of the nine hits Manoah surrendered, five came off pitches that finished inside the strike zone, with three producing a 99 mph exit velocity or higher. But of his 16 batted-ball events (that includes any ball put in play), only six featured an exit velocity of at least 95 mph.
The right-hander was far from perfect, although he was also subject to a fair amount of batted-ball misfortune. He will need to be more effective at pounding the strike zone, as 31 of his 85 pitches missed outside the strike zone, though.
Manoah logged 196.2 innings during his first full major-league season in 2022, posting a 2.24 ERA, 3.31 xERA, 3.35 FIP and a 16.4 per cent strikeout-to-walk rate difference, worth 4.1 fWAR. He finished third in AL Cy Young voting.

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