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Mountaineers in the Pros

Alek Manoah Struggles in Season Debut as Blue Jays Lose to Nationals



Alek Manoah

Alek Manoah made his season debut as he attempts MLB comeback following a tough 2023. But unfortunately for the former Mountaineer, his struggles continued in Toronto’s loss to the Washington Nationals.

Manoah allowed seven runs (six earned) off six hits and struck out six batters in four innings on Sunday. The WVU product was building a solid outing until giving up five runs in the fourth inning.

Manoah had been on the injured list with right shoulder injury since the beginning of the season. He made five rehab starts across the minor leagues, most notably four for Triple A Buffalo. The former MLB All-Star has surrendered 19 runs in 19.2 total innings. As a possible positive sign of what’s to come, Manoah is coming off his best outing at any level of the year, allowing only one earned run through six innings with 12 strikeouts and only two walks.

After a remarkable 2022 season that saw the WVU product finish third in the American League Cy Young race, Manoah’s 2023 was a disaster. Reports even indicated that he refused to show up to a minor league assignment, one of two for him throughout the summer.

Overall throughout his time in MLB in 2023, Manoah posted a 3-9 record with a 5.87 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP in 87.1 innings pitched.

Just a year before, Manoah took his career to another level. In 2022, the now 26-year-old carried a 2.24 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and struck out 180 batters in 196.2 innings pitched. Manoah was named an All-Star and started Toronto’s Wild Card Round game.

To fully put this fall from grace into perspective, Manoah put together a season so great he was labeled as one of the best pitchers across baseball in 2022. He then struggled so much in most of his appearances during the 2023 season that he was sent down twice. 

The last demotion was done with hopes Manoah could regain some semblance of the form that led to his past success in time to salvage the season. As the season continued to progress without any sign of Manaoah reemerging, the thinking was that plan was not going well. And now it appears as if that plan never even got going in earnest.

When Manoah was sent all the way down to the Florida Complex League in June, he was carrying a 6.36 ERA through 13 starts. The WVU product and former AL Cy Young candidate did improve after returning the majors, but was still not close to the overpowering pitcher he has been since being drafted in the first round out of West Virginia.

WVSN’s Griffin Floyd detailed possible factors that could be contributing to Manoah’s issues in the piece below.

Our Mike Asti also asked Schneider about Alek Manoah after a game early in the 2023 season.

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