Manoah picks up third loss of year as Phillies snap Blue Jays winning streak
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Alek Manoah dropped to 1-3 on the season after another tough outing saw the Phillies put up eight runs on their victory over the Blue Jays.
PHILADELPHIA – There’s no question, Alek Manoah hasn’t started 2023 the way he, or anyone around him would have expected.
His velo is down, he’s struggling with his fastball command, and just can’t seem to put guys away.
While all of that is true, his biggest issue this year has been his slider.
And going up against a Phillies lineup that is second-best at hitting sliders, was always going to be a tall order.
The only, positive takeaway for Manoah can be that he wasn’t the lone cause as his performance paired with sloppy play from his defence saw the Blue Jays drop their series opener with the Phillies 8-4 on Tuesday night.
With that being said though, Manoah certainly struggled during the outing. The big-man lasted just 4.2 innings surrendering three runs on four hits while walking four and striking out just one. His slider, once again proved to be his kryptonite with generating just three whiffs on a total of 42 swings. It’s another display of his lack of efficiency in the pitch as his whiff rate on the slider is down over 20% from just last season.
“When that's there, he's as effective as anyone in the league,” John Schneider said of the slider before the game, “and when it's not, it's tough to really finish someone off with one or two pitches.”
When the slider is effective, “it opens up a back-door two-seamer, elevated four-seamer,” added Schneider. "If he's going to really be the pitcher that he was last year and the pitcher he can be, it's going to come down to that.”
“It just needs to be a little bit more consistent,” Manoah said of his slider. “I've got to obviously get in the zone more. Can't be walking four guys every start. And I think just being in the zone more will allow them to chase more pitches.”
The Blue Jays jumped out to an early one-run lead in the third by way of Bo Bichette’s ninth double of the year, scoring Kevin Kiermaier.
But the bottom of the fourth is where play started to unravel. Manoah incurred a pitch-clock violation which would ultimately lead to a Bryce Harper walk. Manoah would then miss with a slider in the zone to Nick Castellanos who would pull the offering 361-feet over the wall in left field for a two-run shot.
Defensive mistakes followed in the fifth with a deep single from Trea Turner leading to a throwing error from Snatiago Espinal allowing the Phillies to tally another.
The Blue Jays appeared to still have life in the sixth with Bichette taking one the other way for a solo-shot to pull Toronto within one.
The back and forth play would continue before the Phillies pulled away in the penultimate frame.
The loss sees the Blue Jays still sitting third in the AL East as they’ll stay in Philly for another night to close out the two-game split with the Phillies, before an off-day Thursday paves the way for a 10-game homestand to kick off a run of 17-consecutive games starting Friday.