Blue Jays: Alek Manoah returns to dominant form in start against Yankees

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

After a string of poor outings to begin the 2023 campaign, it appears as though Alek Manoah is returning to his dominant form after a strong performance against the New York Yankees this afternoon.

In an almost sold-out Yankee Stadium crowd of 43, 223 on a sunny Saturday afternoon in The Bronx, Manoah brought his best stuff. The big right-hander went seven scoreless innings allowing just a pair of hits, striking out five, and walking only one batter. His most frequently used and typically most dominant pitch, his slider, looked much better today, too. Unquestionably his best start of the season thus far.

This is only Manoah's second time going seven or more innings this season. He also pitched seven innings against the Royals three starts ago, not giving up a single run, but he did issue five walks that game. He also threw 13 less pitches today, further showcasing his control was much better today.

Everybody knew the Manoah on display throughout the first few starts of this season wasn't the same Manoah that finished third in Cy Young voting a season ago and it was only a matter of time before he returned to form.

Manoah's opposition this afternoon, Gerrit Cole, was equally as dominant for the Yankees, and these two certainly have a history. It first started when Manoah plunked Aaron Judge with a 92mph pitch in a game last August, which Cole visibly had issue with. Post-game, Manoah essentially challenged Cole to step on the field next time.

Then, over the offseason, while on Serge Ibaka's cooking show "How Hungry Are You", Manoah referred to Cole as the "worst cheater in baseball history". When asked a couple days ago if he'd retract his remarks, Manoah responded, "No. Not at all."

The Blue Jays lost this afternoon's game 3-2 on a bottom of the ninth walk-off single courtesy of DJ LeMahieu, but the loss certainly had nothing to do with their starter's performance today.