Carl Crawford realizes that while it is almost always the case that pitching and defense wins playoff games in the MLB, it doesn’t hurt to swing a hot bat.
The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ left fielder is in his third divisional series. When he played with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and 2010, he was one of the better hitters on the team during the regular season, batting .273 the first time and .307 the second. But his batting averages for the divisional playoffs were .214 and .143. Until Game 3 on Sunday against the Atlanta Braves in a National League divisional series, when Crawford’s bat erupted, he had gotten off to a slow start in terms of hitting during the playoffs with the Dodgers.
That slow start was not what the Dodgers wanted to see from Crawford or any of their players. Los Angeles is looking at Crawford (and other players), especially at the leadoff spot, to pick up his hitting for not only this series but hopefully for the National League Championship Series and World Series. Crawford can set the tone for the rest of the team if he contributes a potent bat every game.
Crawford is coming off a solid regular season with a .285 batting average and 15 stolen bases. He has been feasting on the 2-seam fastball but struggles against the cutter. He needs to prove he’s not one of those regular-season hitters who then goes cold in the playoffs. After a slow start in the playoffs, it appears he’s starting to pick it up and it couldn’t come at a better time for the Dodgers who are going to need a lot of runs if they’re going to go very far in the playoffs.