The Toronto Blue Jays touched down in the mecca of baseball, the mighty-big Bronx to take on the New York Yankees. On the hill for Toronto was the big right-hander, Alek Manoah.
It is always interesting to analyze a pitcher’s first outing of the season; there are mechanics that are tweaked in the offseason, along with velocity gains, changes in spin rates and efficiencies, and more. Not to mention, change in physique, strength, conditioning, and repertoire. Alek Manoah took the hill in New York on Monday, something that he’s gotten used to, as his major league debut took place at Yankee stadium. Manoah took on an established Yankee lineup, with some popular names, and familiar faces, such as their newly acquired 3rd baseman, Josh Donaldson.
His finishing line looks very healthy, going 6.0 complete innings, only allowing one hit, with four walks, and seven strikeouts. He finished with 89 pitches, 52 of those being strikes, facing 23 hitters total, and securing a total of five groundouts, three fly outs, and punching out seven hitters.
Blue Jays: What did we see from Alek Manoah?
Manoah’s stat line is an accurate reflection of his physical demeanour. He looked strong, confident, and determined in his approach. Manoah was loose, and relaxed, showing a fluent repeated delivery and maintaining good tempo between pitches. He was hitting spots, staying low and away to guys where it was appropriate, and going up and in, with a good mix. He was able to attack the zone early in the count, with a 58% strike rate.
His velocity hovered around his normal reading, however, he used full tools in this outing, to maintain effectiveness. The fastball was well located with good late run, placing it top shelf, bottom shelf, and sat well below the knees. His out-pitches were working as the slider was moving well, however, the CHANGEUP! This pitch was not as utilized in his college repertoire, or early affiliate career, but worked well in last night’s game. Manoah was fearless and locked in; Yankee Stadium was no threat to him.
The concern last night was the four walks issued by Manoah. In an interview, he mentioned this was just a case of finding his ability to command, which he did. Manoah was backed up by some stellar blue jays defence, escaping a bases-loaded jam, and was supported by the hot Blue Jays offence, providing him three runs to secure his first victory of 2022.