TORONTO — Even though the lowly Los Angeles Angles swept his Toronto Blue Jays, interim manager John Schneider will refrain from a furniture-tossing fit of anger to rally his club.
The Angels (55-73) received two-run homers from Luis Rengifo and Shohei Ohtani and solo blasts from Kurt Suzuki and Mike Trout to handle the Blue Jays 8-3 in the series finale, outscoring the home side 22-3 in the three-game set.
"I'm never the type of guy who will go in there and flip the table," Schneider said. "At this point, it's up to the players to say, 'this is not good enough.'
"You trusted the guys who are leaders and the guys who are veterans to take care of that."
The Blue Jays left home on Aug. 17, bound for a vital road stint with stops against the New York Yankees.
They had a built-in excuse for the series opener against the Angels because of an overworked bullpen in a pair of extra-inning wins to close out the Red Sox. There also was a late 4:30 a.m. arrival from Boston on Friday.
But the Blue Jays' offence never got on track, failing to score a run in the first 21 innings of the series.
"Coming off a really good road trip to get swept by the Angels, we didn't expect it," Blue Jays starter Ross Stripling said. "But they came and punched us in the mouth.
"The word that's going to follow the 2022 Blue Jays for the years to come is streaky. We've had more highs and lows this year than any team I've been a part of. You're not going to see us get too down because, after lows, we've had a lot of highs."
Stripling played on the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers, who won a Major League Baseball-leading 104 games and went to the World Series. However, the Dodgers lost 11 games in a row in September.
"You've got to rely on your leaders in situations like this," Stripling said. "Guys who have been here for a while or have been on teams that have had ups and downs.
"Guys like (George]) Springer, Whit Merrifield, Jackie (Bradley Jr.), myself, David Phelps. We have good leaders in the locker room who we've relied on all year to be vocal and to lead by example."
"Guys are going to have to look at the standings and understand that every game is important," Schneider said. "Three hours out of your day needs to be completely focused on trying to win."
In the series finale before 44,318 at Rogers Centre, Los Angeles enjoyed a 3-1 advantage and struck for three more runs in the seventh inning, highlighted by Ohtani's 28th homer into the Blue Jays bullpen.
Stripling (6-4) surrendered three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in six innings, ending Toronto's five-game win streak with Stripling on the mound.
He gave up a two-out, two-run homer to Rengifo in the third inning and a solo blast to 38-year-old catcher Kurt Suzuki in the fourth inning on change-up pitches.
After being blanked in the series' first two games, the Blue Jays ended their run-less streak at 21 innings in the bottom of the fourth.
Matt Chapman drilled a two-out double off the centre-field fence to score Bichette.
Springer extended his hit streak to 12 games, smacking a ninth-inning homer off the left-field foul pole in his final at-bat to go 1 for 4. He's been on a 20 for 44 (.455) run in his streak.
On Monday, the Blue Jays begin a three-game set at home against the Chicago Cubs with Jose Berrios (9-5) facing Javier Assad (0-0). Former Toronto starter Marcus Stroman (3-6) is slated to pitch for Chicago against Kevin Gausman (9-9) on Tuesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 28, 2022.
Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press