Blue Jays Hope Manoah’s Return Sparks Surge

Date IconLast Updated: 2023 Jul 6
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Blue Jays Hope Manoah’s Return Sparks Surge
© USA Today

This is the strangest of Jays seasons. 

At the halfway mark, the team is loaded on paper, with a $175+ million payroll. Management seems to be all in with the two key young core pieces, Bo Bichette and Vladmir Guerrero Jr., needing to put them into a situation where the team can win.

Jays Look For Bats To Get Hot

The development phase for this current generation of young Jays is over. So far, the team is at 46-40, .535, fourth in the American League East, 9.5 games out of first. 

The Blue Jays are 1.5 games out of wild card contention, so the team isn’t out of the pennant race by any means. 

Still, in drawing up an MLB team-by-team report card halfway through the season, what grade would you give the Jays? 

Earlier this week on Bleacher Report, the writer gave the Blue Jays a D+. Maybe a little harsh. But would you give them any better than a B-? 

All season, it has felt like something is missing. The Jays rank fourth in the American League in team batting average, at .260, ninth in team RBIs, at 362, but they can’t seem to drive in runs when it matters. 

Strong Pitching Could Put Jays In Playoffs

The Jays are eighth in team ERA in the East, at 3.94, but have been forced to run a four-man starting rotation because of the regression of 6-foot-6, 285-pound starter Alek Manoah, who last season was in the Cy Young Award conversation – 16-7, 2.24 ERA, 196.2 IP, 180 strikeouts.

The return of Manoah from the minors and Hyun Jin Ryu, out a year after Tommy John surgery but now in the conversation for a post All-Star break return to the rotation, impacts the Jays’ trade deadline strategy. 

A rotation featuring All Star Kevin Gausman (7-4, 3.04 ERA), a rejuvenated Jose Berrios (8-6, 3.74 ERA), steady-Eddie Chris Bassitt (8-5, 4.09 ERA), then Manoah back to form, with Yusei Kikuchi (7-3, 4.08 ERA) and Ryu in the fifth spot/long-range reliever role, puts a wild card berth in play.

Betting Odds Have Jays In the Hunt

Currently, BetMGM has the Jays at 21.00 to win the World Series, after the Atlanta Braves (4.75), Tampa Bay Rays (5.50), Los Angeles Dodgers (7.00), Houston Astros (10.00), Texas Rangers (10.00) and New York Yankees (16.00). 

That’s a good bet, especially if Manoah looks like his old self in Friday re-debut start against the 37-48 Detroit Tigers. 

Keep an eye on Manoah in that game. He was terrible at beginning of the season, going 1-7 with a 6.36 ERA. The Jays sent him down to a lowly developmental league in Florida to tweak his delivery and re-discover his confidence. 

Now he’s back up to the majors. The return of Manoah would be the impetus the team needs, plus it means they could then focus on adding another bat by the Aug. 1 trade deadline. 

For Friday’s game between the Blue Jays and Tigers in Detroit, DraftKings has the moneyline at Jays -155, Tigers +135.

BetMGM also has the Blue Jays at 11.00 to win the American League East. 

Also, PointsBet has the Jays at 26.00 to win the Series, and 16.00 to win the East. 

The Jays aren’t going anywhere if they can’t figure out how to beat teams in the AL East, and fast. They are a horrific 7-20 against their divisional brethren.