Alec Manoa, 25, a right-handed hard-throwing pitcher who was the Toronto Blue Jays’ ace last year, is struggling. Two months after opening day, he hasn’t shown any signs of rebounding. At this rate, he may have to give up his starting job to Ryu Hyun-jin (36), who is scheduled to return next month. Manoa is a big fan of Hyun-jin Ryu, but if he continues to perform like this, he could be in for a rough ride.
Manoa was pulled early from his start against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 1 after allowing three runs on four hits (one homer) and three walks with two strikeouts in four innings. His command faltered and he threw 89 pitches through four innings before turning the mound over to the bullpen to start the fifth.
Manoa suffered his sixth loss of the season (1-1) as Toronto fell to 2-4, and his ERA remained in the five-run range (5.46). He hasn’t won in 10 games since his first win of the season on April 6 against the Kansas City Royals, dropping six straight.
According to MLB.com, “Manoa’s 5.46 ERA is more than double the 2.24 that propelled him to stardom a year ago. It’s no secret why he’s struggling. He walks too many batters, tries to pitch too well, and loses the pitch count battle. His walks per nine innings have jumped from 2.3 last year to 6.4 this year.
Manoa, who has remained confident throughout, was frustrated after the Milwaukee game. “It’s so hard,” Manoa said. I’m not doing what I need to do. I have to keep fighting and find the positives. It’s a mindset thing, not ‘throw a strike here,’ but ‘don’t throw the ball here,’ and that makes a difference. Right now, I’m stuck in the mindset of ‘don’t throw strikes here,'” he said, adding that he was mentally chasing the ball.
He hasn’t gone past the fifth inning in two straight games since May 26 against the Tampa Bay Rays (five runs in three innings). The bench is becoming increasingly unreliable. There was some anger in the dugout after he was subbed out in Tampa Bay. “In the heat of the moment, anybody, including me, can say things they don’t mean or may regret,” Toronto coach John Schneider said. “Sometimes that’s Manoah, and that’s what makes him great. “I think we’re at a point now where he understands that I’m trying to do the right thing for the team and for him.
Manoa, a 6-foot-3, 198-pound right-handed hard-throwing pitcher, quickly established himself as a starter after making his major league debut in 2021. In his second year, he went 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA and 180 strikeouts in 31 games (196⅔ innings) last year, earning an All-Star nod and finishing third in the American League (AL) Cy Young Award. 안전놀이터
He started the year as Toronto’s ace, but has struggled since. He hasn’t lasted past the fifth inning in six of 12 games. His four-seam fastball (93.9 mph to 92.8 mph) and sinker (93.3 mph to 92.7 mph) averages have dropped, and his primary weapon, his slider, has seen a significant spike in batting average (.190 to .304). His command issues have made it difficult for him to manage his pitches and go long innings.
If Manoa doesn’t find his groove in the first half of the season, the role of Hyun-jin Ryu, who is in the final stages of his elbow rehabilitation with the goal of returning in the second half, will grow. Toronto has one of the only starting rotations in the league with just five pitchers after opening day, including Manoa: Kevin Gausman (3-3, 3.03), Chris Bassett (5-4, 3.80), Jose Berrios (5-4, 3.86) and Yusei Kikuchi (6-2, 4.47). Once Ryu returns healthy, one of them will have to vacate the starting spot. Kikuchi was initially the favorite for the fifth spot, but with his current performance, Manoa should be left out.