4. Manoah’s magnificent debut
The starting rotation looked quite different at the beginning of the season compared to the end, with Tanner Roark, Ross Striping, and TJ Zeuch filling in the gaps. It wasn’t long before everyone seemed to be looking for a big arm to help the struggling rotation. Eyes went towards the 23-year-old, right-handed pitcher Alek Manoah who was dominating in Triple A for the Buffalo Bisons, after only playing in the minor leagues for only six games in 2019 and only three starts in 2021 when he was called up to the big leagues.
In those three games with Buffalo he pitched 18 innings, allowing only one earned run, three walks, and seven hits, with a total of 27 strikeouts. To those who thought he needed more time in the minors, I’m glad you were wrong.
Manoah officially made his MLB debut on May 27 against the New York Yankees, and you couldn’t have asked for a better first outing. The Florida product pitched six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts, and only gave up two hits and two walks. Little did we know, this would be the start of many great outings for the rookie.
Manoah finished the 2021 season with a 3.22 ERA, nine wins, and 127 strikeouts in 111 innings and was also named the American League rookie of the month for September. Even though he probably won’t win Rookie of the Year that we all know he deserves, he will go into the 2022 season with his spot in the rotation successfully secured.
3. Bichette’s go-ahead homer
The final series against the Yankees at the Rogers Centre was arguably the most intense and important series of the Blue Jays 2021 season. After losing game one to the Yankees, we all knew that game two was a must win. It started off looking great for the Jays who were up 4-0 through the first four innings. But the Yankees aren’t going to go down easy and by the seventh inning, New York had tied it up at 5-5.
Up comes Bo Bichette at the bottom of the eighth inning, and he hits home run number 28 and his second on the night to the opposite field, scoring the go-ahead run that the Blue Jays were so desperately looking for. The crowd is going nuts, some of the most loud and excited fans we had seen this season.
As he rounds the bases, Bichette, who is normally very reserved with his expressions, shows great emotion as he drove in the go-ahead run for the Blue Jays. The Jays ended up winning the game 6-5, with Bo going 3-4 with two home runs on the evening.
In a game where the bats of Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. fell silent, Bichette is proving once again that when one bat cools down, another will heat up in its place.