Blue Jays: Alek Manoah with a premature exit in his start against the Cardinals
By Nick Prasad
The 2023 Toronto Blue Jays season is underway! The Blue Jays took to Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri to kick off the season against the Cardinals in front of 45,399 fans. The Cardinals started right-hander Miles Mikolas who battled against Blue Jays monster righty, Alek Manoah.
The Blue Jays returned to the field after a short-lived postseason appearance, losing two to the Mariners in the 2022 American League Wild Card Series. Manoah, who pitched Game One of that series, took the mound in this opener with a vengeance, hoping to move in the direction of success and a possible World Series.
RHP Alek Manoah was forced out of the game early in his season opening start against St. Louis.
Let’s start with Manoah’s final line; he pitched 3.1 innings, giving up nine hits, five runs, five earned runs, two walks, three strikeouts, and two home runs allowed. Cardinals’ hitters had an eye for his offerings and were able to get good pokes around the field to generate base runners.
The Blue Jays fought back and forth to eventually come out on top with a big opening win, 10-9. Manoah’s short stint on the mound forced Toronto to deploy seven different arms to string together the win, with Yimi García taking the win and Jordan Romano earning the save. This obviously isn’t your typical Manoah start; however, you can read the tension and stiffness in his delivery and approach. Do these new rules have something to do with this? Possibly. Can this be the Opening Day nerves? Also very possible.
It was clear that Manoah seemed to have overused his off-speed early and not fully establishing his fastball. It seemed like he relied on matchup analytics which may have caused confusion in certain counts. That said, he only walked two hitters and struck out three in three and one third innings.
Manoah had 14 called strikes, 12 swinging strikes, 16 strikes in play, and threw 12 first-pitch strikes in 21 batters faced. Overall, the Cardinals did their job and were aggressive early on. This dreadful start is not an accurate display of Manoah’s repertoire and definitely not a reason to panic.