Dodgers HappyThe Dodgers are coming off an impressive series against the Cardinals in St. Louis as they won three out of four and surprisingly, the lone loss came when Clayton Kershaw was on the mound.

The Dodgers now return home to Chavez Ravine and prepare to host the Tampa Bay Rays for a three game series. They have a 5.5 game lead in the NL West and now the Dodger focus should be to try and catch up to the rest of NL leaders so they can battle for home-field advantage.

The Rays are currently in second place in the AL East with a 66-47 record and are only two games behind the Boston Red Sox for the division lead.

Tampa Bay is a good offensive ball team, but playing against an NL team, will make them lose their DH spot in the line-up and their pitcher will have to bat. The Rays rank fourth in on base percentage  and seventh in batting average while their pitching staff has some impressive guys on the mound.

David Price and Jeremy Hellickson will try and slow down this potent Dodger offense along with Roberto Hernandez over the weekend.

These are the keys to the series:

1. Dodgers Offense

This Dodgers offense is capable of putting up some great numbers when everything is running on all cylinders, but they just have not been consistent enough. Clayton Kershaw would definitely appreciate the run support as he’s pitching gems but not getting the wins he deserves. As we approach the post-season the Dodgers cannot afford to be inconsistent as this will be another tough test against a top team.

Clayton Kershaw2. Slow Down the Rays’ Offense

The Rays have a great line-up that includes Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, rookie Wil Myers and former Dodger James Loney. The veteran Longoria leads the Rays with 22 home runs and 62 RBIs.

Manager Joe Maddon knows how to construct a good lineup and regardless of the names, the Rays offense comes to play every single night.

3. Dodger Relievers Must Continue Consistency

The postseason will include some of the best teams and this series will be another great test for the Dodger relievers to try and continue their consistency. Kenley Jansen has been lights out, but the rest of the bullpen must be able to get the ball to Jansen as Brandon League had a minor hiccup in St. Louis.

Defining roles in the Dodgers bullpen has been a huge key as guys know when their number will be called as the ‘pen only gets stronger.

Prediction:

The Dodgers have been on fire and their ability to win the majority of their games since the All-Star break is impressive. The Dodgers return back home and will have Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke on the hill. The Dodgers will win two out of three and continue to improve their record as the dog days of August begin.

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In case you missed it, be sure to find out the latest on Matt Kemp’s ankle injury.

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