Blue Jays: Both sides of the argument to let Alek Manoah pitch the 9th
The argument to let Manoah finish what he started
While I’ve already acknowledged the argument for turning to Jordan Romano in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game, I’ll admit that I wanted to see Manoah back on the mound to finish the game.
I was really hoping the Jays would score a couple of runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, taking the save situation away and giving them enough of a cushion to send Manoah back out for the ninth. Unfortunately they weren’t able to add on the insurance runs they needed, and the coaching staff opted for the safer choice of turning to their hard-throwing closer.
Still, I can’t help but feel like Manoah had the game under control, and based on his reaction to learning that he was done for the day, it’s clear that the Florida native felt the same way. He escaped some trouble more than once, but overall he was throwing a ton of strikes, and mostly putting the ball exactly where he wanted to.
He had also managed to work through the first eight innings by only throwing 83 pitches, and still had plenty of room to work with before he got into the danger zone where so many teams shut things down. As for the hitters he was about to face, despite the fact that they represent the heart of the Reds’ lineup, Manoah held them to just 2-9 on the day.
In a perfect world, I would have loved to see Manoah get to at least start the inning, with Romano waiting in the wings if he got in trouble. I can absolutely understand that it’s not an ideal situation to bring Romano into, and that a clean inning would be a more reasonable ask, but I was still hoping that Walker and Montoyo would go this route.
It’s not the end of the world that Manoah had to sit down after eight innings, but it would have been a real feather in his cap to finish off the Reds and earn his first career complete game. There’s no doubt that he wanted the opportunity, and you can hardly blame him based on the way he was pitching.
At the end of the day, the 22-18 Blue Jays needed to make sure they won Saturday’s game. They have to take care of business against a team like the Reds, and while it’s still early in the season, these wins will be important as they pursue a playoff spot down the stretch. I’m confident that Manoah could have finished the job, but more importantly, the Blue Jays won the game.