Dodgers Are the Season’s Biggest Challenge for the Blue Jays
It’s odd to think that an interleague series in August between a rebuilding team and a contender could have such importance. But to a young core such as the Toronto Blue Jays, the Los Angeles Dodgers give them their biggest challenge yet. Although the Blue Jays have arguably the toughest schedule in baseball this season, this series might be their toughest. This is especially true when considering the experience on the Dodgers team has in October.
This will be their only series with the Dodgers, while the Blue Jays have to play multiple series against AL contenders. As one of the best teams in baseball, the Dodgers are a force to be reckoned with. However, since Bo Bichette arrived, the Blue Jays have been above .500. While the Blue Jays are a few years away from contention, the Dodgers are ready to win now.
If the Blue Jays win this series
While it may not mean much on paper, a series win shows optimism for the years ahead. A series win may be unlikely, but the chances of it happening still leave it within the possibility of consideration. The probable pitchers for the Dodgers show that a series win is a difficult task. The Blue Jays will face Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Kenta Maeda while in Los Angeles.
To make matters worse, the Blue Jays have managed to hit .206 against National League teams and .199 in Southern California this season (May was not a fun month). As the sample size is small, the Blue Jays need to make adjustments to play to their competition. This could be done by mixing the lineup, making sure Trent Thornton starts (he did really well in San Francisco), or simply sticking with what works.
A series win would show a great job done by the Blue Jays front office to develop a competitive team for years to come.
The Russ Factor
This will be the first time that Russell Martin will be facing his former club since being traded in the off season. As Martin is an example of the past, the current team symbolizes the future and what lies ahead. While there is a possibility the Blue Jays may never face Russell Martin again, you have to imagine that he circled this series on his calendar this year. Being the catcher, Martin understands the young pitchers better than they know themselves, his skills for seeing the game will give Los Angeles an advantage.
What This Means for the Blue Jays
As the Blue Jays are not going anywhere this season, this could be their most important series yet. For the fans, west coast games may be difficult to stay up for, but this might be worth it. It appears that the Dodgers have all the momentum heading into this series; but the great thing about baseball is it transcends the projection sheets. The only way to beat an opponent is by winning no matter where the momentum lies pregame. Will the Junior Jays thrive under the California pressure or find their Hollywood ending? We’ll just have to wait and see.