There might be a little extra tension in the air when the Red Sox and the Blue Jays do battle Wednesday evening at Fenway Park.
Alek Manoah is set to toe the rubber for Toronto as it tries to halt its skid against Boston. Manoah’s first start of the season against the Red Sox will come roughly a month after he was called out by Alex Verdugo, who accused the Blue Jays ace of celebrating on the field “the wrong way.” Verdugo singled out an incident last season when Manoah shouted at a pair of Boston batters after striking them out.
Of course, it’s not uncommon in the big leagues to exact revenge or send a message through a hit by pitch. Roughly 24 hours before stepping into the batter’s box 60 feet away from Manoah, Verdugo was asked about the possibility of getting drilled by the fiery right-hander.
“I really don’t care about getting hit,” Verdugo told reporters Tuesday, per MassLive. “(Getting) hit is just extra on-base percentage. I don’t think it’s going to get to that. I don’t think we’re at that kind of beef. I still expect everybody to be professional and to go about it the right way, for him to try to make his pitches and get me out.”
Manoah brushed off Verdugo’s blunt remark last month, claiming he didn’t “give a (expletive)” about what the Boston outfielder had to say. Still, Verdugo hopes to have a 1-on-1 conversation with Manoah in order “clear out some air.”
NESN’s full coverage of the divisional showdown begins at 6 p.m. ET.