TORONTO — Marcus Stroman doesn’t want to let the noise surrounding his future with the Blue Jays affect his performance on the mound.
Instead the Toronto right-hander, who’s been linked to trade rumours since the off-season, has been trying to turn that into motivation — even when the results don’t necessarily follow.
Stroman pitched seven-plus innings Tuesday, allowing three runs in a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
“It’s impossible not to be aware of (trade rumours),” Stroman said after the game. “I wake up and social (medias) are blasted with it, there’s talk everywhere in the clubhouse, it’s around 24-7.
“I’m in a good place mentally where I’m really not bothered by it. I’m kinda able to lock it in when I need to and I’ve just been focusing on my mind a lot, on and away from the field.”
“I feel good, put a lot of work in the off-season,” the 28-year-old added. “Kind of upset about how last year played out, hearing the talk how I’m on my way out and it kinda fuelled me. So I’m going to get stronger as the year goes and just looking forward to the rest of my starts.”
Stroman, who’s now in his sixth major league season with the team that drafted him 22nd overall in 2012, said trade rumours “come with the business,” while adding that he feels his time in Toronto may be limited.
“They’ve been throwing my name around in trade talks all the time, it doesn’t seem like I’m going to be signed here to a long-term deal and it’s just something you have to come to terms with,” Stroman said.
“I love this team, I love Toronto, I love everything about the country and I’m going to continue to go out there every start and just compete, compete, compete and do everything I can to limit runs.”
Tyler Skaggs pitched solidly into the eighth inning to outduel Stroman, and Kole Calhoun and Brian Goodwin hit solo homers as the Angels (37-37) beat Toronto for a second straight night and improved to 5-0 against the Blue Jays this season.
Skaggs (6-6) allowed one run and three hits while striking out six over 7 1/3 innings. Hansel Robles pitched the bottom of the ninth for his 11th save.
Stroman (4-9) allowed four hits — two of them homers. He also walked a batter and struck out three through his 102-pitch performance.
Tuesday’s game marked the second time this season that Stroman had pitched into the eighth inning. He has 10 quality starts (the rest of the Blue Jays starters have a combined 11), but run support has eluded him for most of the season.
“That’s baseball, man. … We’re capable of putting up 10 (runs) on any given night. We just haven’t put those together,” Stroman said. “It’s just a matter of going out there and battling, just truly trying to keep my team in each and every game that I’m in and just go deep, that’s my goal.”
Manager Charlie Montoyo was impressed with Stroman’s outing despite the loss.
“He was fun to watch today, he was really good,” Montoyo said. “Just a couple mistakes against a good lineup, he did a great job.”
“Of course I feel for (Stroman), we’re trying to get him runs but it hasn’t worked out,” Montoyo added. “He’s pitched a lot better than his record shows. … he’s doing what it takes, he’s giving us a chance every time. He’s been really good.”
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. supplied the offence for the Blue Jays (26-47) on a solo home run off Skaggs in the fourth inning. It was the Blue Jays’ first hit of the game and gave them a temporary 1-0 lead before Calhoun and Goodwin homered in the fifth.
A Tommy La Stella groundout extended the Angels’ advantage to 3-1 in the eighth.
NOTES: Skaggs has allowed three runs or fewer in six of his seven career starts against Toronto. … Attendance was 17,259. … The Blue Jays placed first baseman Justin Smoak and right-handed pitcher Edwin Jackson on the 10-day injured list before the game. Smoak has a left quad strain and his move to the IL is retroactive to June 15. Jackson’s injury is a lower-back strain. Outfielder Billy McKinney and right-handed reliever Justin Shafer were recalled from triple-A in the corresponding roster moves.