Maybe Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah is a bit whiney because his team has dropped the last three games he’s started vs. the New York Yankees? The right-hander has been on the other end of 9-1, 4-0 and 4-2 losses after having his way with the Bombers the first three starts of his career against them.
So when he went up and in, drilling Aaron Judge on Sunday afternoon when the Jays were trailing 2-1, it was easy to see why tensions might rise. It was the first pitch of the at-bat and it was evident the Jays preferred to give Judge first base rather than an opportunity with a runner in scoring position. Maybe the HBP wasn’t intentional … but you can understand why the Yankees might’ve interpreted it that way.
That resulted in tensions boiling over. Judge exchanged words with Manoah and then Gerrit Cole stormed out of the dugout to yell in Manoah’s direction as he was restrained from advancing much further onto the field. Even though it didn’t result in a full-scale brawl, this is the passion fans love to see! Keep it coming.
Even better, though, was Manoah’s reaction to Cole backing his teammate. After the game, Manoah said that if Cole wanted to do something about it, he could “walk past the Audi sign next time.”
Interesting choice of words for a fake tough guy, huh? Let’s take fans back to mid-April when Manoah decided to talk trash and then shell up himself when the Blue Jays were at Yankee Stadium, shall we?
Yankees’ Gerrit Cole calling out Blue Jays’ Alek Manoah was awesome
Back on April 14 during a Yankees 3-0 victory over the Jays, Luis Severino, who was on the mound that day, hit Lourdes Gurriel Jr. with a pitch in the first inning, which prompted some trash talk from Manoah in the dugout.
Severino jawed back at the Blue Jays pitcher, Cole came out of the dugout to make his presence known, and Manoah … did nothing. Manoah backing his teammate, who’s, what, the fifth- or sixth-best hitter on the team is OK, but Cole coming out to defend the AL MVP is “too much”? Sure, buddy.
Can Manoah not remember what happened four months ago? If he’s going to have instigating words like this in the postgame, maybe he should’ve moved a muscle back on April 14 or, better yet, actually done something about Cole jumping out of the dugout on Sunday.
Instead, he stayed put on April 14 and then waited to deliver trash talk when the two sides returned to their clubhouses on Aug. 21.
We’re noticing a pattern, that’s all. The Jays can talk a big game all they want. The Yankees’ dumpster fire of a 2021 season still saw them finish better than Toronto, and the Jays are underachieving after 120 games in 2022 and are still looking up at New York despite these last two months of awful play.
Big thanks to Manoah, who quickly changed the vibe at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, which went from booing Hal Steinbrenner in the pregame to cheering on the Bombers for finally capturing a victory to keep the division lead at eight games. Maybe this incident is finally what changes the clubhouse vibes for the Yankees.