Jays starter Manoah suffered a mysterious loss to the Yankees

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It’s the moments when Alek Manoah blossoms into all its glory.

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Against the hated New York Yankees, a team he’d already had some verbal altercations with while dominating was what fueled the Blue Jays.

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Well, at least they were.

In his recent mysterious outing after a quick relegation from elite form, Manoah exited the mound after his seventh walk of the evening – and no one was out in the fifth inning – with a stunned expression on his face.

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And after the worst start to his professional career, perhaps a glimpse of defeat.

After he loses command of the Strike Zone, the Jays are suddenly left with a conundrum: what to do with an All Star desperate to get back in shape?

“They want him to turn the tide,” Schneider said ahead of Monday night’s disappointing 7-4 loss to the Yankees at the Rogers Centre. “We need him to turn things around and get back to where he was.”

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Schneider’s comments were a little more accurate than general manager Ross Atkins’ enthusiastic claim that Manoah was “heading in the right direction.”

Even Manoah, with his inflated 5.40 ERA, would have a hard time supporting that assessment. In his four innings Monday, Manoah conceded six hits and five runs, but of most concern was his lost relationship with the strike zone.

The seven free passes he gave to the Yankees batter were a career high and almost unbelievable, Manoah threw 48 balls from his 92 pitches.

“What makes me so confident (on a turnaround) is that he’s found how difficult it is to perform at this level,” Atkins said boldly of Manoah ahead of his ninth start of the season. “And it’s the competitive factor and never backing down from a challenge.”

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It’s safe to say that Manoah now faces the biggest challenge of his young career. He has youth and confidence on his side and May is still on the calendar.

But his performance to date could hardly compare to his first full season in the big leagues that saw him break through.

A year ago, Manoah laid the groundwork for an All-Star spot and consideration for the AL Cy Young Award. Cheeky and confident, he wasn’t afraid to show his feelings openly.

Not so much this season.

In those nine starts, he’s only made it out of the fifth inning once — a range that was automatic for him in 2022, and on Monday his record dropped to 1-4.

As with most of this seesaw 2023 season, Manoah’s execution was a total miss. This was evidenced by Aaron Judge and Willie Calhoun allowing home runs in the first inning, and then worsened with the steady parade of Yankees ambling over walks to the first inning.

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While Schneider shares some of Atkins’ optimism about Mahoah, he hinted that there will be trouble until “his execution is in line with his stuff.”

“He was good,” Schneider said when asked how Mahoah handled his difficulties. “It’s such a unique case because there haven’t been many minor league innings (in his rapid rise to the majors) and heaps of failures or difficulties.

“He was the same guy and I think that makes him great. That’s what his teammates see and that’s what draws them to him.”

They will back Manoah with whatever it takes to get him out of this crisis as well, although it was a somber bunch that patted him on the back when Schneider came to the mound for another early hook.

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And the poor performance should not have escaped those in the visitor shelter. In seven previous career meetings against the Bronx Bombers, Manoah had allowed a earned run or less in five of those, including seven shutout innings in the Bronx in April.

For a pitcher trying to find himself, it must have felt like an eternity.

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The Jays passed the quarter point of their season Monday with a 24-17 record that, while believable, leaves room for more.

The beginning of the pitching was erratic and the bullpen had its moments, but consistency is what it’s all about.

“They love where we are and there is still a lot of room for improvement,” said Schneider. “Only in terms of consistency in all phases of the game. I think the individual performances are good and some guys will be a little bit better individually than they are now.

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“We’re in a good position, but we didn’t really go full throttle. It was a (good) series and then also not. So if we get to that point (consistency) it will be a good place for us.”

Finding that elusive consistency seems to be the hardest task. The schedule was tough – with only 16 home games – and there were problems in both the starting rotation and the bullpen.


Judge added a second home run that night, a massive 462 blast from the Westjet flight deck in the eighth inning… What started out as a short, late eighth made the Jays interesting in the eighth and put down four runs on the board. With Bo Bichette in third and Vlad Guerrero Jr. in second and Daulton Varsho, the potential tie came before a weak grounder went first to nullify that rally… That was the end as the Jays went down in order in the ninth game.


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