Alek Manoah is on a roller coaster.
Less than a calendar year since finishing third in AL Cy Young Award voting with a 2.24 ERA and 0.99 WHIP, he was optioned to the Florida Complex League, the lowest tier in the minors, in early this month after posting a 6.36 ERA. in his first 13 starts.
The demotion was simply for the Toronto Blue Jays to get him back on track, but on Tuesday it was a sign of the exact opposite.
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Despite being sent off on June 6, Manoah’s first FCL start didn’t come until Tuesday, and it was horrible.
Manoah pitched just 2.2 innings and allowed 11 runs, all earned, on 10 hits. Two of those hits were home runs and another two were doubles.
At the time of his option, the 25-year-old led the majors with 42 walks allowed. He walked just 51 in 31 starts last year.
Manoah pitched in the sixth inning just once since April 22. His last MLB start, when he gave up six earned runs in just one-third of an inning, was his fourth outing this season in which he gave up at least five earned.
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Manoah’s season was so good last year, he was drafted the Blue Jays’ Game 1 start in the postseason, and he wasn’t the least bit worried.
«I had a coach who used to say, ‘Pressure is something you put in your tires,'» Manoah said. before the start of the American League Wild Card Series. «This is just baseball. It’s just a game, you just have to go out and have fun and put the pressure on your tires.»
New York Yankees fans will probably be pretty happy about this too. During the offseason, Manoah called Gerrit Cole the «biggest cheater» in baseball due to his alleged involvement in sticky stuff before the 2021 crackdown. Cole is pitching with a 2.78 ERA this season and led the majors in strikeouts. Last season.
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Toronto is 43-36, which would be fine in most divisions. However, they play in the daunting AL East, so the fourth-place Blue Jays are 10.0 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays (54-27).