Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays Series Preview: Jays look to continue streak against Dodgers top arms

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May 5, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (10) rounds first base after hitting a double against the Texas Rangers in the sixth inning at Rogers Centre. Blue Jays won 12-2. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (10) rounds first base after hitting a double against the Texas Rangers in the sixth inning at Rogers Centre. Blue Jays won 12-2. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports /

Coming off a series win against the rival Rangers that contained back-to-back walk off wins and a much-needed offensive explosion, the Blue Jays look to stay hot and leave their slow start behind. They’ll look to do so against an L.A. Dodgers team who have had the same types of struggles that we’ve seen with the Jays early on this year.

The Dodgers came into the season in a similar situation to that of the Jays. A successful 2015 season that ultimately ended in a defeat in the NLCS against the Mets led to high expectations for the 2016 season. Their combination of veteran talent and emerging youth has set up their team to be successful both for the present and future years, but their offence limped out of the gate.

Their team slash line of .241/.319/.372/.691 is just slightly below the Blue Jays’ lone of .237/.321/.399/.721. They have a host of young hitters loaded with talent: Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, and Yasmani Grandal are all mixed in with solid veterans in Adrian Gonzalez, Chase Utley, Howie Kendrick, Justin Turner, and Carl Crawford.

However, despite this group of both young and veteran talent, they’ve had a difficult time getting on a roll offensively. Their 88 wRC+ ranks 25th in the league, squeezed between the struggling Yankees and rebuilding Athletics.

There putrid offence has been protected due to the fact that they’re still above .500 and in first place in their division largely due to the work of their pitching staff. In many ways, their season resembles what the Jays season looks like in the sense that a lineup with a lot talent isn’t living up to expectations, but a rotation with question marks is carrying the team.

Mind you, there are distinct differences. The Jays’ offence is more talented than the Dodgers’, and had higher expectations coming into the year, and the Dodgers rotation question marks were largely due to injuries and health concerns, whereas the Jays question marks resided from a lack of talent of depth. Both of those pitching concerns have been pushed aside by strong performances from each staff.

The Dodgers are bringing two of their best starters in Clayton Kershaw and Kenta Maeda, and if the Jays offence continues to break out of their early season slump and deliver the type of performance that we expect from them, we should be in store for a couple fantastic matchups.

First up, an in-depth look “Across the Diamond” at the 14-14 Dodgers.

Next: A look at the talent that MLB's highest payroll can buy

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