The Toronto Blue Jays won the first game of a double header against the Yankees, but we just wanted to see the MLB debut of Alek Manoah
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The Toronto Blue Jays took the field in the first game of a double header and all eyes were on Alek Manoah. Toronto started the game 5 games back of the division lead and 1.5 back of the Yankees.
Alek Manoah (0-0, 0.00) vs Domingo German (4-2, 2.93)
The top of the first went quickly and quietly as if the batters knew what we really wanted to see. Sportsnet certainly did as they didn’t go to commercial. Instead, they stayed with the game to watch Manoah warm up. The nerves (that most of us would not be able to handle) may have been a factor as he walked D.J. LeMahieu. He followed that up by striking out Rougned Odor on a change up away, endearing himself to Blue Jays fans.
The confidence seemed to build after that as he made Aaron Judge look the silliest I’ve seen. Strike two brought the Judge to his knees and strike three saw him flail a mile late at 97 mph down the middle. He got Gleyber Torres to fly out to CF. First MLB inning in the books. Despite the performance, the highlight of the inning was Manoah’s mom in the stands who was emotionally invested (understatement alert!) in every pitch.
After two pop outs to start the 3rd inning, Marcus Semien launched his 13th home run of the season and Bo Bichette must have enjoyed what he saw from the on deck circle. He followed with a home run in almost exactly the same spot in left field. That was Bo’s 10th homer of the year. The broadcast reminded us multiple times that Bo doesn’t feel quite locked in yet. This could be a fun summer. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.was hit in the next at bat. At first, it looked like it was his hand, which caused some breath holding. The replay showed it hit his back forearm. Whew.
Back to the Man(oah) of the hour: If the Blue Jays were holding Manoah down to have him work on his change up, he definitely took their directions seriously. Through the first three innings, he’d collect 5 strike outs, a walk and one hit, making like pitching in the big leagues against the Yankees like it is a walk in the park. He was keeping the Yankees hitters off balance with a nice mix of his mid to upper 90s and his change up. His pitch mix combined with his mound presence, you would never know this kid was making his MLB debut.
Pitching in the 5th inning, Manoah seemed to be getting stronger as the game went on with his command improving. Miguel Andujar dropped his second hit of the game into right field. It would be all the damage he saw. At the end of 5 innings, he’d thrown 75 pitches and collected 7 strike outs. Being just a 7 inning game, and that he was cruising, Manoah returned for the 6th inning. He got LeMahieu to fly out and walked Odor, which brought Aaron Judge to the plate. Judge looked to have tied the game with a drive to CF, but it was one of those louder off the bat than it really was type of hits and ended up in Grichuk’s glove. He got Gleyber Torres to ground out to end the inning. It was the first real sign of trouble Manoah had all afternoon and he handled it like a boss.
Alek Manoah’s MLB debut final line: 6IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 88 pitches (60 strikes).
Luckily, Manoah’s debut was so impressive. It helped us not pay attention to the fact that German kept the Blue Jays in check through 5 innings. Aside from the back to back jacks by Semien and Bichette, Toronto’s hitters were just as off balanced and couldn’t solve the Yankees’ starter. They didn’t pick up their third hit until there were already two outs in the 5th. Randal Grichuk hit a dribbler over the pitcher’s mound and the defense was not there. His single knocked German out of the game. Lucas Luetge replaced him and promptly gave up a line drive single to CF and, with runs at a premium, Grichuk advanced to third. Lourdes Gurriel Jr.put together a 12 pitch at bat, but left the runners on base.
Jordan Romano came out for the bottom of the 7th inning and a chance to collect the save. Manager, Charlie Montoyo was not taking any chances of wasting such a stellar debut and went with defensive upgrades with Jonathan Davis and Santiago Espinal. Romano struck out Mike Ford, got Clint Frazier to break his bat and ground out to short. That brought the entire Yankees offense for the dya, Andujar to the plate. He grounded out and Romano did his job. Ball game!
Toronto Blue Jays: 2 R, 4 H, 0 E
New York Yankees: 0 R, 2 H, 0 E
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.