The Dodgers stormed through Washington D.C. over the weekend and completed the three-game sweep while also making up two games in the NL West standings.
To finish the six-game trip, the Dodgers will travel north of the border and face the Toronto Blue Jays, a team that has flopped after putting together a “super-team” in the off-season.
The Blue Jays acquired Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson from the Marlins, but are stuck in last place in the highly competitive AL East.
After putting together an 11-game winning streak, the Blue Jays were swept by the Tampa Bay Rays to start the second half and are 13.5 games behind the Red Sox.
Here are three keys to the series against the Blue Jays:
1. Stopping Blue Jays power hitters
While the Jays have struggled for most of the season, they do boast one of the majors best lineups. Reyes is the catalyst followed by Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind. Not to mention Colby Rasmus, Melky Cabrera and Brett Lawrie as the Jays rank eighth in baseball in runs scored.
At home, the Blue Jays rank third in baseball with 63 home runs so it will be up to the starting pitching and bullpen to neutralize their power.
Not to mention, the Jays have scored the fifth most runs at home and since their pitching isn’t too good, they like to play a lot of high scoring games.
2. Carl Crawford
Crawford was on a roll early in the season, but a hamstring injury derailed all the momentum he had. Since coming off the DL, Crawford was in a 2 for 30 slump, but bounced back with four hits in seven at bats over the weekend.
With Kemp seemingly getting hurt at every moment, Crawford will be relied upon to provide a spark at the top of the lineup as well as play on a consistent basis.
Hopefully there comes a point where all four outfielders are healthy, but Crawford’s health might be the most important as he sets the table for the rest of the lineup.
There’s an argument for the bullpen being the key in every series, but after putting together 9.2 scoreless innings, it’s important for them to continue to build off their success.
Since the Jays are prone for big innings, the ‘pen could be pressed into duty several times, but they’re going to need to continue their dominance.
This has the Dodgers winning two out of three written all over it and to start the second half 5-1, that’s a great way to start the stretch run in the NL West.