SIMMONS SUNDAY: Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah is his own kind of star
He couldn’t be more different — Alek Manoah from Dave Stieb, from the late Roy Halladay, from the greatest starting pitchers ever developed by the Blue Jays. Manoah oozes personality along with pitching poise. He wants the ball, the headlines, the show, everything that goes with being a major-league star. He has demonstrated that since arriving in Toronto a year ago, and he gave a peak to the rest of the baseball world on Tuesday night at the All-Star Game, pitching and broadcasting an inning, smiling his way through his three strikeouts, all at the very same time.
TORONTO — As Toronto Blue Jays management attempts to improve its roster before Tuesday's trade deadline, a pair of acquisitions in the past 12 months, Jose Berrios and Matt Chapman continue to enjoy their most productive stints with their new team. © Provided by The Canadian Press
Berrios pitched another sound seven innings with seven strikeouts and surrendered only one run on three hits in the Blue Jays (57-45) 4-1 victory against the light-hitting Detroit Tigers (41-62) on Sunday.
Chapman drilled a two-run, two-out homer in the second inning to spark Toronto's offence. He also singled in the fourth inning to reach base safely in 10 straight games, which has seen him go 16 for 33 (.485) with five homers and 12 RBI.
If Blue Jays power arms had worked out trade deadline approach could have been different
In the crunch-time days leading to next Tuesday’s trade deadline, there’s little doubt that general manager Ross Atkins is on the looking for a power arm to bolster the bullpen. It’s also worth recalling that the Blue Jays had a pair of them on the 40-man roster at the start of the 2022 season. Rarely does everything go as planned health-wise during the twists and turns of 162 games. But the Jays certainly had high hopes for Nate Pearson and Julian Merryweather.
"I have found something that's going to stay with me," said Chapman, who discovered he was standing too tall and not using his legs enough to keep his bat longer in the hitting zone.
"I'm a little bit smarter now (with his approach at the plate)."
Chapman, acquired in mid-March in a trade with the Oakland Athletics, has 20 homers on the season.
"He's made a small adjustment with just trying to stay in his legs a little bit more," Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider added.
"What he's meant to the lineup is he's carried us. Since the (all-star) break, he's been on fire."
Most of Chapman's homers have been hit into the Blue Jays bullpen, and his teammates who occupy seats there have given Chapman grief about not acknowledging them more.
"I'm more concerned about touching the bases," said Chapman, who looked in the bullpen's direction as he neared third base.
Tigers could be perfect match to meet Blue Jays’ pitching needs
Less than a week away from the Aug. 2 trade deadline, the Toronto Blue Jays remain in the hunt for pitching and are hoping to add at least a couple of impact arms between now and then. The problem, however, is that every other contending team is looking to do the exact same thing. Pitching is always in high demand around this time of year, and with the expanded playoff format, there likely won't be as many sellers this season compared to previous ones. Luckily, the Detroit Tigers have recently made it known that they’re open for business, which wasn’t always guaranteed.
The Blue Jays snatched three of four from the Tigers and have gone 11-3 since Schneider assumed control earlier this month.
Berrios (8-4) enjoyed his best month as a Blue Jay, checking in with three wins and three no-decisions in six starts. The Blue Jays have won 13 straight home games with Berrios starting, a club record surpassing the late Roy Halladay's 12 in a row in 2007-08.
"He was landing his curveball," Schneider said. "He was spotting his fastball up. He was on, so it's just been more of the same. He's been really consistent his last five or six starts, and today was just another example."
His brother-in-law, Javier Baez, was the only visitor to hurt Berrios in the series finale. In the Detroit shortstop's first at-bat, he hooked three shots foul down the left-field line before settling for a walk in the nine-pitch at-bat.
In the fourth inning, Baez led off with a homer to left-centre field, bringing Detroit within a run of Toronto.
SIMMONS SAYS: Bullpen is holding back Blue Jays from truly contending
When the Blue Jays won their first World Series they did so with an everyday lineup that is really no better than the lineup manager John Schneider puts out most days. The difference between the 1992 Blue Jays and the current edition: Pitching. The real difference: The bullpen. In the World Series against the Braves, the Jays’ deep bullpen, which included starting pitchers Jimmy Key, Todd Stottlemyre and David Wells, dominated Atlanta, throwing 19.1 innings in the six games. They allowed just one earned run in that time.
"I texted him and told him he got me," said Berrios, a trade deadline acquisition from the Minnesota Twins a year ago.
The Blue Jays rallied for a pair of runs in the fifth inning thanks to a walk and doubles to left from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette off Detroit starter Garrett Hill (1-3).
The win put the home side in a perfect mood for their charter flight to Tampa Bay. The team planned a beach party at the homes of Florida neighbours Berrios and George Springer.
"Everybody's going to dress up and wear beach wear. Luckily, that's like most of my clothes." the 29-year-old Chapman said.
A team golf outing was scheduled for Monday.
Blue Jays righthanded starter Alek Manoah threw for the first time since being hit on his right elbow by a Jonathan Schoop comebacker on Friday.
Manoah felt fine and expects to make his next scheduled start in Minnesota against the Twins on Thursday.
The Blue Jays don't play again until an hour after the MLB Tuesday's trade deadline at 6 p.m. ET when they begin a nine-game trip to Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Baltimore. Toronto's Kevin Gausman (7-8) will face Rays starter Drew Rasmussen (6-3) in the opener of their two-game set in Tampa Bay.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 31, 2022.
Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press
DeGrom, Mets outduel Nola, Phillies 1-0 in NL East showdown .
NEW YORK (AP) — Jacob deGrom struck out 10 in six dominant innings and Edwin Díaz earned his 200th career save, helping the New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 1-0 on Saturday night. Pete Alonso hit an early RBI single as the NL East leaders improved to 31-9 following a loss and 10-4 in the season series with Philadelphia. Alonso leads the NL with 97 RBIs. Díaz issued two walks in the ninth, and Philadelphia had runners on second and third when Nick Castellanos struck out swinging for the final out. It was Díaz’s 27th save of the season. DeGrom (2-0) allowed two hits and walked none in his third start after spending the first part of the season on the injured list.