GDB 89.0: Is Toronto Blue Jays hurler Alek Manoah ready for his start against the Detroit Tigers?
By Zach Laing4 months ago
The Alek Manoah era is upon us once again.
From the high of starting opening day, to the low of being sent to the Florida Complex League and the Dunedin lab to find his game, Alek Manoah has rebounded and once will again find himself on an MLB mound.
It’s been a long season for the Big Man, and that’s putting it lightly. He got shelled on opening day against the St. Louis Cardinals allowing five earned runs off six hits through 3.1 IP, and while he bounced back immediately with a tremendous start against teh Kansas City Royals, that became the exception, not the norm.
His game began to unravel at the seams with his following start, ironically enough against the Detroit Tigers, where on April 11th he, once again, struggled. Three earned runs off four hits and five walks across 4.1 IP were issued that game, and the cause for concern was immediate.
It all culminated in a June 5th start against the Houston Astros — Manoah’s 13th of the season. He recorded just one out facing all nine Astros’ allowing eight to reach base — seven by hit, one by walk. Of his 38 pitches, 19 found the strike zone and the same number didn’t. His control wasn’t just lost, it was on another planet. And his confidence followed.
It was clear that it was time for the Jays to make a decision, and the next morning Manoah was off to Flordia.
Word about his stint in his home state was quiet. Knowing what we know about the Dunedin lab, it’s safe to say that the work he was doing was extensive. They have all the tools available at their disposal to dissect what’s gone wrong this season.
The first word out, however, wasn’t good. He started a game against 17-20-year-olds in Single-A ball and got shelled across 2.2 innings where he allowed 11 earned runs off 10 hits, two walks and two home runs.
My colleague Brennan Delaney’s theory on it all is the one that makes the most sense: this game was all about his being able to locate pitches, with the results not mattering.
To me, it’s only confirmed by the start that he had with the Double-A Fisher Cats on Sunday night. Despite a shaky start that saw him allow five of his first eight batters faced to reach base by way of two hits, two walks and one being hit by a pitch, his game turned around.
Of the next 12 batters Manoah faced only two reached base: one off a single, and one off a walk. 10 of the 20 he faced that night went down by the way of strikes. Allowing three hits, three walks and just one earned run — while sending 10 back to the dugout swinging — was a promising start.
It’s only why some were so surprised to see the team make the announcement that Manoah would be returning to the mound for the big league Blue Jays today.
It’s left us all with the large looming question: is he ready to return, or are the Blue Jays making a mistake by rushing him back? By the end of the night, we’ll know for sure either way.
First pitch: 6:40 p.m. EST
Toronto Blue Jays: 48-40, 8.0 GB, – WCGB, +25 DIFF.
Detroit Tigers: 38-48, 6.0 GB, 9.0 WCGB, -77 DIFF.
Moneyline: TOR -133; DET +115.
TOR: Alek Manoah RHP – 1-7, 13 GS, 58.0 IP. 6.36 ERA, 6.53 FIP 1.897 WHIP, 7.4 SO/9, 6.5 BB/9.
DET: Alex Faedo RHP – 1-3, 5 G, 26.0 IP. 5.54 ERA, 4.52 FIP, 0.923 WHIP, 9.0 SO/9, 0.7 BB/9
Need to bide the time until first pitch?
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Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached -by email at email@example.com.
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