Alek Manoah is on quite the roller coaster ride.
Less than one calendar year since finishing in third place in the AL Cy Young Award vote with a 2.24 ERA and 0.99 WHIP, he was sent down to the Florida Complex League, the lowest level of the minors, earlier this month after posting a 6.36 ERA in his first 13 starts.
The demotion was simply just for the Toronto Blue Jays to get him back on track — but Tuesday was a sign of the exact opposite happening.
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Despite being sent down on June 6, Manoah’s first start in the FCL didn’t come until Tuesday — and it was awful.
Manoah pitched just 2.2 innings and allowed 11 runs — all earned — on 10 hits. Two of those hits were homers, and another two were doubles.
At the time of his optioning, the 25-year-old led the majors with 42 walks allowed. He walked just 51 in 31 outings last year.
Manoah pitched in the sixth inning just once since April 22. His last MLB start, when he allowed six earned runs in just one-third of an inning, was his fourth outing this season of allowing at least five earned.
Manoah’s season was so good last year, he was tabbed the Blue Jays’ Game 1 starter in the postseason, and he wasn’t worried one bit.
“I had a coach that used to say, ‘Pressure is something that you put in your tires,'” Manoah said ahead of that AL wild card series start. “This is just baseball. It’s just a game, just gotta go out there and have some fun and leave the pressure for your tires.”
New York Yankees fans are also probably very happy about this. Over the offseason, Manoah tabbed Gerrit Cole as the “biggest cheater” in baseball due to his alleged involvement with sticky stuff prior to the 2021 crackdown. Cole is pitching to a 2.78 ERA this season and led the majors in strikeouts last season.
Toronto is 43-36, which would be fine in most divisions. However, they play in the daunting AL East, so the fourth-place Jays sit 10.0 games behind the 54-27 Tampa Bay Rays.