Alek Manoah had a tough outing on Friday in the American League Wild Card Series as he took a loss in his postseason debut against the Seattle Mariners.
The Toronto Blue Jays ace fell in his first playoff start as his team took a 4-0 defeat to Seattle in the Mariners’ first postseason game since the 2001 ALCS. Manoah lasted 5.2 innings and allowed all four of Seattle’s scores.
The All-Star righty seemed jittery to start the Wild Card game as he struggled to control his fastball. He nicked leadoff Seattle leadoff man Julio Rodriguez to open the contest before allowing an RBI double to Eugenio Suarez in the three-hole. Seattle hero Cal Raleigh, whose last at-bat was the walk-off home run to send the Mariners to the playoffs after a 21-year drought, hit his first postseason dinger off of Manoah to bring the Seattle lead up to three runs.
Manoah needed 26 pitches to get out of the first inning and mostly relied on his fastball, but only three of his 11 four-seamers hit the strike zone.
The former WVU star struck out Jarred Kelenic to lead the second inning off as he started to find a rhythm. He allowed just two hits and one across the next 4.2 innings and finished with four strikeouts.
The Blue Jay offense struggled to give him run support on the other side of each inning. Although they managed seven hits, the Mariners stranded all of Toronto’s baserunners to keep the shutout.
Luis Castillo earned the win for Seattle after 7.1 scoreless innings of work with six hits allowed and five strikeouts.
Manoah also adjusted his pitch selection as the game progressed. He nearly abandoned his four-seam fastball, which was his favorite pitch in the regular season with a 36-percent usage rate, throwing it just 12 times in his final 4.2 innings on the mound to make up 27 percent of his throws. He threw his slider the most in 29 of his 79 pitches, and it’s easy to see why — Mariner batters whiffed on 47 percent of their swings against that pitch.
Toronto can even the series in game two of the ALWCS on Saturday at home, as the entirety of the best-of-three series will be played at the Blue Jays’ Rogers Centre.