Manoah, Darvish step up as September's top pitchers
Alek Manoah and Yu Darvish helped pitch their respective teams to the postseason with a strong final month down the stretch. For that, they’ve been named MLB’s Pitchers of the Month for September.
In six starts last month, Manoah went 4-0 with a 0.88 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 41 innings. After starting the month with 7 1/3 scoreless innings against the Pirates on Sept. 2, Manoah allowed one run over eight innings against the Orioles on Sept. 7 in a pivotal series that increased Toronto’s AL Wild Card lead to 4 1/2 games.
Manoah positively impacted the Wild Card chase in his next start as well, as he grinded out 6 2/3 innings with five strikeouts in Game 2 of the Blue Jays’ doubleheader against the Rays after missing Game 1 due to a stomach bug.
After two more starts (against the Orioles and Rays, respectively), Manoah’s final start came on Sept. 30, where he tossed six scoreless innings in the Blue Jays’ 9-0 win the day after Toronto clinched a postseason berth. With the win, the Blue Jays moved closer toward their goal of clinching home-field advantage in the AL Wild Card Series.
On the year, Manoah is 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA in 196 2/3 innings with a WHIP of 0.99. Toronto entered play on Monday 2 1/2 games up on the Mariners for the top Wild Card spot in the American League, with Manoah on tap to start Game 1 for Toronto in the AL Wild Card Series.
For Darvish, September was the final bow on top of what has become a standout season for the 36-year-old right-hander. Darvish went 5-1 in six September starts, tallying a 1.85 ERA with 44 strikeouts and only eight walks in 39 innings.
Darvish opened the month with seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in a 7-1 win over the Dodgers. Eleven days later, Darvish put together his best start of the year by throwing eight scoreless innings against the Mariners with seven strikeouts and no walks en route to being named NL Player of the Week.
On Sept. 24, Darvish put his team on the cusp of securing a playoff berth with six strong innings against the Rockies to help the Padres move a half-game ahead of the Phillies for the second Wild Card spot in the National League. Six days later, Darvish kept the Padres in their game against the White Sox by grinding out six innings -- his 23rd consecutive start of at least six innings -- in the Padres’ 3-1 loss.
On the year, Darvish is 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA, 197 strikeouts and a career-best WHIP of 0.95 in 194 2/3 innings -- the second-highest inning total of his career. He’s set to start Game 1 of the Padres’ NL Wild Card Series on six days' rest.