Sitting in fourth place in the American League East with a 52-75 record, the Blue Jays set their sights on Los Angeles for a three-game, mid-week series with the Dodgers beginning on Tuesday. The occasion marks the first time the Blue Jays will have played at Chavez Ravine since June of 2007.
At the onset of the series, the Dodgers have a full, eight-game lead over the Braves, who are coming off a 2-1 series victory over Los Angeles, for home-field advantage in the NL Playoffs.
While Toronto is certainly full of young talent, one player we won’t be seeing is former Dodger righty Brock Stewart. The swing man was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays right before the trade deadline; however, after making two long relief appearances for the big league squad, he was demoted to Triple-A Buffalo on August 8 to create roster space for veteran right-hander Zack Godley.
Old friend Wilmer Font is still hanging around on the Toronto roster, though. The 29-year-old right-hander has made 34 appearances this season—eight starts—and has posted a 4.41 ERA with 66 punchouts over 63-1/3 innings of work. He last pitched against Seattle on Sunday when he threw two innings of relief, surrendering one earned run on three hits.
As far as the youth movement in Toronto goes, the two marquee names are third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and second baseman Cavan Biggio. The 20-year-old Guerrero is hitting .274/.345/.464 with 22 doubles, 14 homers and 54 RBI, mainly out of the three-spot in the lineup. Biggio, 24, has settled into the two-hole for the Blue Jays although being amidst a bit of a slump latley, having hit just .190 (13-for-68) over his last 78 plate appearances.
In terms of power numbers, center fielder Randal Grichuk leads the way for Toronto with 23 dingers and 58 RBI, despite tallying a whopping 132 strikeouts with a mediocre .745 OPS. Among league qualifiers, veteran shortstop Freddy Galvis has the best average on the club with a .267 mark and also has the most doubles on the squad with 24.
The Blue Jays have an impressive 11 players with double-digit home runs so far this year, but they rank just 11th in the AL in run production with 577 while sitting in 14th with a team batting average of .237.
Conversely, the Dodgers rank first in the National League with a whopping 693 runs scored and rank fourth in the NL with a .261 team average. Their 218 home runs are third in baseball behind the Twins (241) and the Yankees (227). In case you haven’t been following along, the Dodgers have eight players with double-digit homers, highlighted by 42 from Cody Bellinger, 31 from Max Muncy, 24 from Joc Pederson and 22 from Justin Turner.
Bellinger remains the league leader in jacks and is currently sitting tied for second in the NL with 97 RBI in a very tight race.
According to ScoresandStats.com, Reid-Foley struggled last Wednesday against Texas, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks over just 3-1/3 innings (after giving up one or fewer runs in three of his previous four outings). The 23-year-old native of Guam has issued 13 free passes in his last four outings (17-1/3 innings), but served up just three homers in 30 frames overall in 2019. Reid-Foley is 1-1 with an 0.82 ERA in three appearances at home this year and beat Miami in his lone career inter-league outing.
Meanwhile, Kershaw has won his last four starts and has surrendered just eight runs while going unbeaten in his last seven trips to the mound. He limited the Marlins to just two hits over seven scoreless innings last Wednesday with 10 strikeouts. He has lost just once since June 7. Toronto infielder Brandon Drury has homered against CK but is 1-for-11 in his career versus Kersh, who gave up two runs over seven innings in his only meeting with Toronto in 2016.
In the middle game on Wednesday, the Dodgers will start right-hander Walker Buehler. Consequently, righty Kenta Maeda will be taking the mound for Los Angeles in Thursday’s finale. The Blue Jays have yet to announce a starter for either of these contests.
First pitch for the opener on Tuesday is slated for 7:10 PM Los Angeles time.