TORONTO — Maybe it’s that exotic Canadian food. Or the fact the players have to stand through two national anthems here.
Whatever the reason, the Angels have been a different team since they landed in Canada last week.
They came north having lost just once on the road in five weeks. In Canada, they lost twice in as many days.
When they arrived here, their rotation had the lowest earned-run average in American League. In Canada, their starters have given up 21 runs in 15 1/3 innings.
And in the U.S., outfielders Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos had combined for two errors all season. They made that many in one inning Saturday as the Angels dropped an 11-2 decision to the Toronto Blue Jays.
It was the Angels’ most lopsided loss of the season –- but one Manager Mike Scioscia said his team will have to forget quickly.
“It was a bad game. We’re just going to turn the page on it,” he said. “We just got beat up today. We’ve got to get better tomorrow.”
Don’t bet on it. Because while the Angels will be starting C.J. Wilson, their hottest pitcher, on Sunday, he too has struggled in Canada, going winless and posting a 6.59 ERA at Rogers Centre.
If the Angels have learned anything on the international portion of their trip, it’s that everything begins and ends with starting pitching. And mostly it’s been ending early, with Dan Haren and Ervin Santana combining to give up 11 runs in as many innings in the first two games of the series before Garrett Richards gave up 10 — five of them unearned — in 4 1/3 innings Saturday.
“You’re going to have streaks like this,” Scioscia said. “We run into some guys that are swinging the bats and we’re not matching it by making pitches. With Dan’s outing and Ervin’s outing and Garrett’s outing, it’s obvious when you’re getting behind in the count you’re not able to get the ball into good zones.
“Major league hitters, they’re going to take advantage of that. We’ve got to get better.”
The Blue Jays did most of their damage against Richards in the second inning, getting seven runs and seven hits — though Bourjos took the blame for part of that.
The Angels were already down, 3-0, with two out when Brett Lawrie hit a low line drive to center that should have ended the inning. But Bourjos said he lost the ball off the bat and it bounced off his glove for an error.
“I could not see the ball all day. It’s probably one of the most difficult times I’ve had all year,” he said.
Trout misplayed two other balls later in the inning and before the dust had settled Toronto had scored five unearned runs to take an 8-0 lead. The Angels were never in the game after that.
“If I make that play, it never happens,” Bourjos said. “All that is probably on me. It was not a fun day out there.”
But Richards (2-1), who had given up just seven runs in his first 28 2/3 innings combined this season, wasn’t looking to blame anyone. Like Scioscia, he was just looking to move on.
“It was one of those days. As a team, we were off,” he said. “Even the Mike Trouts and the Peter Bourjoses are going to have their [bad] days. This game is over with and we’re just going to move on to the next one.”