Alek Manoah burst onto the scene this year, becoming one of the best pitchers in baseball.
His 2.24 ERA was the fourth lowest in all of baseball, and his All-Star season earned him a spot as the starter for the Toronto Blue Jays in Friday’s opener against the Tampa Bay Rays in a series of wildcards
It will be the biggest start of Manoah’s career.
For Manoah, the pressure is a privilege. He says he doesn’t feel any.
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“I had a coach that used to say, ‘Pressure is something you put in your tires,”’ Manoah said Thursday. “That’s just baseball. It’s just a game, you just have to go out there and have fun and let the pressure out of your tires.”
Manoah knows the importance of Friday’s game. The Blue Jays are seeking their first World Series title since 1993, and 11 other teams are competing for that same trophy.
“That’s what this is all about, right? You train all offseason, you train all year, you go through ups and downs, and that’s what it’s all about. The bright lights. Postseason baseball. That’s what you do. childhood dream,” Manoah said.
“For me, I’m just going to go out there and have some fun, play some baseball. I love playing with these guys, and we have a great team, and we love playing with each other, and that’s what we’re going to do. do. Just go play baseball…
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“I just feel like it’s another game. You don’t have to put too much into it. That’s what we work for. We’ve been doing it our whole lives. I know how to play baseball more than I know how to do anything in this world. I just have to keep doing it.”
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The Blue Jays-Rays winner will face the top-seeded Houston Astros in the American League Division Series. The Astros have made five straight ALCS, playing in three World Series in that span.