Stripling superb as Schneider earns first win as Jays’ interim manager

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The John Schneider era has begun with resounding success.

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Even to the least trained eye, there was nothing different about the Jays who took to the field Wednesday from the group Charlie Montoyo managed before he was sacked earlier in the day.

They were aggressive at the plate, stuck with their defensive shifts and still did what ball players do as part of their daily routine.

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It helps when early leads are manufactured and when an energy level is sustained.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez each took Philly starter Zack Wheeler deep as the visiting Phillies found themselves in a hole that only got deeper.

Wheeler wouldn’t make it out of the fifth inning, leaving the game with one out and the Jays leading 6-0.
Overall, the Jays were quite good on this night, earning Schneider his first win as manager as Toronto swept its mini two-game set by downing Philly, 8-2, at the Rogers Centre

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Well before opening pitch, the Jays announced the move to replace Montoyo with Schneider on an interim basis.

“These guys know how to play and they know how to have fun,’’ said Schneider. “I don’t want to get in the way of that.”

Schneider’s imprint on this team won’t be gleaned until more games are under his belt.

“Bitter sweet,’’ said Schneider in summing up the day’s events that culminated with the win. “I love Charlie and it was a hard day for everyone.”

For his first game as interim manager, Schneider couldn’t have asked more from his team, beginning with the way Ross Stripling pitched.

“It’s a pretty talented group and you don’t have to say much,’’ said Schneider. “They’re pretty self-motivated. It was a cool night for sure.”

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Winners of two in a row and with an underwhelming Kansas Royals team about to crack open a four-game series, Toronto is well positioned to enter the all-star break on a winning streak that should reach six games.

Stripling went seven innings, striking out six and surrendering two hits.

Being aggressive on the bases is one area Schneider hopes to explore when situations dictate aggressive play.

It was Schneider’s first game as interim manager, the first of many as the Jays turn the page.

“It was a cool stepping stone,’’ he said. “Just a pretty cool night.”

Defensively, the only blemish arrived on a Bo Bichette throw to first.

Stripling was sublime, while the offence was on point, highlighted by Hernandez’s four-RBI performance.

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GM Ross Atkins addressed the team at 2 p.m.

“I think as players we realize had we played better Charlie would have kept his job,’’ said Stripling. “That’s one thing we all understand in the locker room.

“I don’t think any of us would ever have anything bad to say about Charlie. Ever. He had our backs all the time and wanted us to win baseball games.”

With expectations high and the Jays unable to fulfill those giddy expectations, Stripling is well aware of the consequences and the unavoidable changes that are made.

John Schneider is his own man and brings a new approach.

“Schneider is more a bubbly, outgoing guy than Charlie,” added Stripling. “Charlie is more quiet and more laid back and will probably address something one on one.

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“Schneider is more of a big personality … Full of energy, smile on his face. He’s definitely an energetic guy I look forward to having every day.”

Stripling felt the changing atmosphere following the managerial change, but he tried to maintain his normal routine just the same.

“You want to get the John Schneider dynasty off to a good start,’’ he said. “At the end of day I’m hyper motivated to put up a zero. You try to take a deep breath and get the team off to a good start in the top of the first and just go to work.”

Philadelphia played its two-game series minus four players, catcher J.T. Realmuto, infielder Alec Bohm and pitchers Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson because Canada requires a vaccine to enter the country.

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With Kansas City coming to town to open a four-game series, the Royals will be without 10 players.
The list of 10 is highlighted by all-star outfielder Andrew Benintendi.

To fill the 10 roster spots, the Royals will turn to the minor leagues where a handful of players aren’t even on the team’s 40-man roster.

“We’re really looking forward to providing an opportunity for some of our players that we want to continue to look at and that we think are a big part of our future anyway,” team president Dayton Moore told reporters. “And so we’re looking at this as a really important opportunity for them and us.”

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