Blue Jays’ Alek Manoah pulled in first inning, 'everything on table' moving forward

Alek Manoah's struggles went from bad to worse on Monday.

Things cannot possibly get any worse for Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah following yet another abysmal start on Monday against the Houston Astros.

Manoah, who entered the night with the lowest fWAR rating (minus-0.4) in the majors among 93 qualified starters, was hoping to finally make at least marginal gains after lasting just four innings in his previous start versus the Milwaukee Brewers on May 31. But even that ended up being wishful thinking.

Instead, the 2022 All-Star posted the worst and shortest outing of his major-league career, throwing 38 pitches and surrendering six earned runs while recording just one out. Toronto would go on to lose 11-4.

With his former ace caught in more than just a rut, manager John Schneider didn't rule anything out for how the Blue Jays will proceed from here.

“As of now, we’re not sitting here making plans for anything, but doing everything we can do for him means using every resource that we have, using the staff and using his teammates to help him through it,” Schneider said after the game. “When I say that everything is on the table, yeah, everything is. We’re just trying to help him get back to the caliber of pitcher that he was.”

Alek Manoah's struggles continued on Monday, as he was pulled very early into his start against the Houston Astros. (Getty Images)
Alek Manoah's struggles continued on Monday, as he was pulled very early into his start against the Houston Astros. (Getty Images)

Things flew off the rails quickly in the first inning, as the first pitch Manoah threw was deposited into right field by Houston’s Mauricio Dubon. Then, Jeremy Peña executed a perfect bunt that stayed fair down the third-base foul line.

Despite Manoah’s best efforts to usher the ball into foul territory, Peña’s bunt single put two runners on with zero outs as the always-dangerous Yordan Alvarez stepped to the plate.

After Manoah fell behind 3-0, Alvarez eventually turned an eight-pitch at-bat into an RBI single as his line drive deflected off Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s glove and landed in shallow right field. Though Alex Bregman flew out to centre field — albeit on a 98.1-mph flyout — things continued downhill from there.

Kyle Tucker cashed in the Astros’ second run of the night with an opposite-field line drive, advancing Alvarez to second. While Manoah jumped ahead 0-2 of Jose Abreu, he followed it up with four straight balls, loading the bases with only one out for Corey Julks.

Julks, with only four home runs in his MLB career, ambushed a 94.2 mph two-seamer from Manoah on the first pitch of the AB, producing a 386-foot grand slam to put Houston ahead 6-0.

Manoah was provided with an opportunity to right the ship after one massive swing unloaded the bases. But after consecutive 100-plus mph screamers landed for hits, Schneider had no choice but to pull the hook on his struggling righty.

Blue Jays fans didn’t shy away from voicing their displeasure as a handful of boos reigned down from the Rogers Centre once the 6-foot-6 hurler’s night ended prematurely.

The 25-year-old’s final pitching line was far from pretty, allowing six runs on seven hits and one walk in just one-third of an inning — becoming just the second Blue Jays pitcher to record such a horrific outing.

Following Monday’s miserable outing, Manoah’s ERA jumped to 6.36 — the seventh-highest in the majors — on the season over 58.0 innings in 13 starts. He also owns an MLB-high 6.53 FIP and 14.9% home-run-to-fly-ball ratio, which are by far the worst of his career.

Toronto is the only MLB team to have used just five starters this season, but amid Manoah’s never-ending woes, that streak may soon come to an end.