Photo credit:Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Blue Jays waste excellent start from Alek Manoah as Yankees complete 3-2 walk-off win
By Evan Stack9 months ago
Getting walked off is never a good feeling, but it’s even worse when it’s a game that the Blue Jays would admit they should have won.
Toronto struggled to get runs across all day, and, despite a clutch Danny Jansen home run in the 9th inning, they were walked off in the bottom of the frame by DJ LeMahieu as the Yankees defeated the Blue Jays 3-2.
LeMahieu was given a very good opportunity to end the game, as there were no outs and the bases were loaded. Anthony Rizzo led off the inning with a double, and from there, Jordan Romano was unable to reach stability on the base paths.
Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Alek Manoah
Almost a week after Alek Manoah failed to live up to his end of a pitcher’s duel against Shane McClanahan and Tampa Bay, he got a second chance against one of the game’s elite this afternoon against Gerrit Cole. This time, Manoah looked the expectations in the face and exceeded them, as he dominated the Yankees’ lineup this afternoon.
With the kind of introduction I gave, it’d almost be criminal not to hand this title to The Big Man. For the day, he threw seven innings while only giving up two hits, no runs, one walk, and five strikeouts. While the numbers are great, Manoah looked like the pitcher we knew in 2021 and 2022: nothing short of dominant.
With only two hits given up, Manoah had a pair of long streaks of retired batters. He sat down the first seven batters of the game before finally allowing a baserunner in the 3rd inning. It was quite the jam for Manoah, as there were runners on second and third with only one out, but he struck out Anthony Volpe and got Aaron Judge to ground out to end the inning. Including those outs, Manoah then retired 12 batters in a row, a streak that was taken into the 7th inning.
Manoah didn’t have to do with too many extended at-bats with heavy pitch counts. Much like the last starts from Chris Bassitt and Jose Berrios, Manoah was able to throw quick and efficient innings. The 3rd inning was the only frame in which Manoah threw over 15 pitches. Furthermore, his 4th, 5th, and 6th innings consisted of seven, eight, and eight pitches, respectively. This type of efficiency brought down the strikeout total, but it didn’t matter with the pristine defence behind Manoah for the day.
One of the biggest takeaways from Manoah’s performance was his ability to locate and keep the walks to a minimum. Per his above stat line, Manoah only walked one batter on the day. Manoah wasn’t sporadic with the fastball, and there was some dance to his sinker. These pitches set up his secondary ones, mainly his slider, in which Judge had the most difficulty.
Things worth mentioning
The head-scratching move to take Manoah out of the game: As dominant as Manoah was today, he was only at 85 pitches after the seventh inning. John Schneider made the move to go to the bullpen in the 8th, which was certainly puzzling considering that 85 pitches is the least amount of pitches that Manoah has thrown in a game this season. Schneider gave the ball to Yimi Garcia – who pitched last night – and he ultimately allowed a two-run home run from Volpe for the first runs of the day for either team.
Danny Jansen (!) ties it up: But, Schneider made up for this by pinch-hitting Jansen for Brandon Belt in the top of the 9th. Yankees reliever Wandy Peralta was having trouble locating the strike zone, and he eventually hung a changeup in the zone, and Jansen hit a two-run home run to tie the game. It was Jansen’s first home run of the season and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Missed opportunities with RISP: The above managerial discourse can be debated all day long, but what can’t be debated is Toronto’s missed opportunities with runners in scoring position. For the day, the Blue Jays were 0-for-9 with RISP, including stranding the bases loaded in the 6th. They also stranded runners on second and third with one out in the first, as well as a leadoff double in the 8th.
The rubber match is tomorrow afternoon as Kevin Gausman will face Clarke Schmidt.
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