Last season, Alex Manoah was a finalist for the American League Cy Young Award, finishing third in the voting and behind Justin Verlander, who won the award. After a breakout 2022 season with the Toronto Blue Jays, big things were expected from the right-hander this season, but it hasn’t happened.
A struggle is putting it mildly for Manoah and it reached its breaking point Monday night against the Houston Astros and Tuesday, the Blue Jays took action to help their ace turn things around when they sent him to try and fix things.
Toronto Blue Jays send Alek Manoah to their Florida Complex
Manoah recorded only one out against Houston at home Monday and allowed six runs on seven hits and the inning was capped off by a Corey Julks grand slam. He threw 38 pitches, and just 22 for strikes. He only walked one batter, however, this is not an isolated incident as it’s been an issue all season long.
In 13 starts this season, he is 1-7 with a 6.36 ERA in just 58 innings, not looking like an ace of their staff. He allowed 41 earned runs, walked 42 batters, and struck out 48. Opponents are hitting .289 against him. Manager John Schneider and pitching coach Pete Walker have been very patient with Manoah, but Monday night’s performance is one where they had to draw the line.
How bad has it been for Manoah this season compared to last season? Consider his numbers from 2022 compared to his 2023 numbers above. He was 16-7 in 31 starts with a 2.24 ERA. He allowed only 49 earned runs all of last season in 196.2 innings pitched and he’s only eight earned runs away this season already from tying last season. He fanned 180, walked just 51 in 2022 and opponents only hit .202 against him. What a fall from the top he has gone this season in just two months.
Normally a move like this for a struggling pitcher is to send them to Triple-A to figure things out, but the Blue Jays are taking it multiple steps further and sending him south to Florida. They mean business.
Manoah figuring it out as quickly as he can in Florida is going to be key to Toronto turning things around. They are currently in fourth place in the loaded American League East and the further they fall behind the Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, and New York Yankees is going to make it that much tougher over the summer. Last season, Manoah was a big reason the Blue Jays played a home Wild Card series against the Seattle Mariners and this season, he’s a big reason why they are struggling to stay afloat in the AL East.
If October baseball is in the cards for the Blue Jays in 2023, Manoah figuring it out in Florida is a big key, and figuring it out quickly. If not, then a struggling pitching staff will only struggle even more.