The Dodgers are north of the border to open up a three game weekend set in Toronto.
Yesterday and this morning were reminders that things aren’t as bad as they seem. The Dodgers have underwhelmed for much of the season. While many Dodger fans are ready to jump off a cliff, the Giants gave up 13 runs in an inning to the Rockies (not even at Coors!) and the Angels just announced their best (only) good pitcher will undergo Tommy John surgery. That’s one major pitching injury (two counting Andrew Heaney, who may also have to have TJ #WonTheTrade), and all of a sudden the Angels pretty much have to sign Tim Lincecum or Kyle Lohse. See, it can be worse.
Tonight marks the start of a fun three game series in Toronto, where the Dodgers haven’t played since 2013. Today would normally be Alex Wood‘s spot in the rotation, but the Dodgers flipped it around with their off days on Monday and Thursday, and Kenta Maeda will start the first game of the series. This is a slightly better matchup, as Wood probably wouldn’t have been a great bet going against the right-handed lineup of death in Toronto.
Maeda gets his toughest test of the season as the Blue Jays lineup is no joke. They went cold for a stretch (because all teams do so seriously people calm down), but snapped out of it yesterday as they put up 12 against the Rangers. Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin, both of whom Dodger fans should be plenty familiar with, have been horrible at the plate to start the season. However, any team with reining MVP Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion can put up runs in a hurry. Maeda has done a solid job keeping the ball in the ballpark this year, but this will be a real test as he faces the DH for the first time in his major league career.
The Blue Jays were supposed to be centered around their offense, but pitching has been a pleasant surprise for them early on. Their rotation has posted the sixth-lowest ERA in baseball (Dodgers are seventh) and the Dodgers will face Marcus Stroman, who got the start on opening day. Stroman has been pretty average this season, but has gone eight in three of his six starts. He’s coming off his best start of the season in Tampa, where he held the Rays to three hits and a run in eight innings while striking out nine. Stroman’s not much of a strikeout pitcher, but has a tough six-pitch mix and should be no easy task for the Dodgers.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen a normal lineup against a righty. The Jays will throw three righties in the series, so it should look a little more like a normal lineup. Carl Crawford starting is interesting, as part of the reason he didn’t play much in Tampa was due to the turf. Toronto also has turf, so it’ll be interesting to see how his body holds up.
First pitch is scheduled for 4:07 PST and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.