For a second there, Yankees fans thought New York brought Alek Manoah back to life on April 22 when he hurled seven scoreless innings against the Bombers in a 3-2 win for the Toronto Blue Jays. That was his second respectable start of the season alongside a similar outing against the lowly Kansas City Royals.
But sandwiched in between all of that? Zero quality starts. An insane amount of walks (25). Six home runs allowed in eight outings. And the Yankees made it much, much worse on Monday night during the series opener against Toronto.
In the first inning, Manoah surrendered three earned runs, which came in the form of home runs off the bats of Aaron Judge and Willie Calhoun. When the dust settled, Manoah exited the game after just four innings of work. He allowed five earned runs on six hits and seven walks. He struck out only three batters.
Someone who quickly emerged as a Yankees agitator is now on an equally fast track to becoming a laughingstock. Manoah now has a 5.40 ERA through nine starts in 2023 after a third-place finish in the 2022 Cy Young voting.
Think he wants to take back calling Gerrit Cole the biggest cheater in MLB history, even if he meant it as a playful joke?
Yankees agitator Alek Manoah gets crushed in Monday's series opener
The content writes itself. Doesn't this guy know better than to try and sneak a high fastball by the reigning AL MVP? The right-hander seems desperate to rediscover some confidence after digging himself into an early-season hole.
Manoah is the only qualified pitcher in the bottom eight percent of the league for both strikeout percentage and walk percentage. Is that good?
The entertainment was hardly over after Manoah walked off the mound trailing 5-0. Later in the game with the Yankees up 6-0 and Judge at the plate for the fifth time (he was 1-1 with a home run and three walks at that point), manager Aaron Boone had a meltdown and got ejected when the ump called a low strike on the Yankees captain.
Hey, if there was a game to lose your mind and hit the showers early during, it was this one, eh? One would think!
The easily-readable f-bombs, emphatic finger points, and gum toss. Is it too late to submit Boone for a Tony award? How in the WORLD could anybody possibly be this mad up 6-0 in the eighth inning?
The entertainment didn't cease there, either! Judge homered after the pause in play to make it 7-0. The Yankees would then make it a game in the bottom of the eighth after an ump called a foul ball fair, Gleyber Torres and Jhony Brito made errors (and Jake Bauers hit the wrong cutoff man), and the Jays started blooping hits. Just like that it was 7-4 with runners on second and third with two outs. Brito was supposed to finish out this blowout and preserve the bullpen, but the miscues in the field forced the Yankees to use Ian Hamilton and Michael King to finish off the job in what was a waste of two high-leverage relievers to kick off a crucial four-game set.
We'll take the win, though. Check back with us tomorrow night when we're inevitably looking back on the moment Torres botched a breezy double play ball to begin the spiral. The worst kinds of victories are the ones you can't fully enjoy, and this was one of them.