Don't mess with Manoah: Big man is masterful as Jays take series in Baltimore

Stefan Luciani
FiredUp Network Sports Writer

@stefanluciani_

Thursday, September 8, 2022


Final Score: 4-1

TORONTO – Following Tuesday’s scrappy loss to the Orioles which saw the benches clear and skipper John Schneider get tossed, Alek Manoah started preparing himself mentally pretty early on. 

 

Fuming from loss and reeling from the tensions that flared during the contest, Manoah could be seen quietly staring down the Orioles as they celebrated their 9-6 loss quite eccentrically.

 

The big man just quietly sat and watched with his head bobbing ever so slightly darting his eyes around from player to player as if strategically sizing up his prey. 

 

Well whatever he was doing, worked.

 

Manoah was masterful in Wednesday’s series closer as righty delivered an eight inning performance in which he allowed just a lone earned run on just three knocks while sitting down five. Ryan Mountcastle looked to rattle Manoah early with a double in the bottom of the first scoring Anthony Santander to give the O’s an early 1-0 lead. But Manoah would brush off the at bat to shut down what has been a potent Orioles offence completely. 

 

It seemed like the perfect ending for the Toronto Blue Jays who took three of four in their trip to Camden yards with the most recent seemingly an emotional one through the entire set.

With playoffs looming and both teams fighting for a berth, the stakes feel as if they’ve never been higher, but for Manoah, this is the type of baseball he relishes in.

 

“I love it,” Manoah said. “This is what we worked for all offseason. This is what we worked for our entire lives.”

 

But what, exactly, was going through his mind Tuesday, as he sat stone-faced staring down the Orioles as they celebrated? What was he thinking about?

 

“A lot. The biggest one was just to come out here today and set the tone,” he said. “Attack, attack. Put them away early, put them to sleep early. And go get on the plane."

 

Manoah’s fiery competitiveness has dubbed him a bit of a hot-head at times this season. Lest we forget him challenging Gerrit Cole to “walk past the Audi sign next time” just a couple weeks ago in the Bronx. But the 24-year-old channeled his emotions perfectly for this one to get the job done in Baltimore on Wednesday night. 

 

“It was a sticky situation," Manoah said of Tuesday's benches-clearer. "And I think this team handled it perfectly. Didn't let them get us out of our groove. Didn't flinch. Let them talk their thing. We're going to talk with the bats and with the glove and with our arms and with the ball. And that's exactly what we did.”

 

"For a young pitcher — he could have gotten frustrated, could have let that inning unravel. But he just really locked it in," Schneider said. "He has a really unique ability to take things in and use it for fuel, use it for motivation. He does it in the right way. It's not out of control. It's not anything crazy. He was really focused on how to attack that lineup today. I know people saw him at the end of the game [Tuesday.] He channels it very well and he keeps his emotions in check."

 

The Blue Jays are now 8-2 in their last 10 games as they have a travel day Thursday before opening up a three-game series against former Blue Jay Marcus Semien and the Texas Rangers on Friday night.