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Carl Crawford remains hot, revamps running style to stay healthy

Just imagine what Carl Crawford would have done last week had he been able to see the pitches he was hitting.
Just imagine what Carl Crawford would have done last week had he been able to see the pitches he was hitting.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford hopes to continue his red-hot hitting as the Dodgers open a three-game series against the Rockies at Coors Field.

Last week the left-handed hitter was 12-for-20 (.600) with a home run, five doubles and was second in the National League with eight RBI (behind Russell Martin's nine). Crawford led the NL in batting average, on-base percentage (.591), slugging percentage (1.000) and OPS (1.591).

He had four multi-hit games last week, including a season-high four hits against San Diego on Wednesday, tying a Los Angeles Dodgers record with three doubles in one game.

It was one of the best weeks of the year, but it wasn't enough to win NL Player of the Week honors. Crawford lost out to teammate Clayton Kershaw on Monday. But it hasn't just been a week for Crawford getting hot at the plate.

Crawford in his last 34 games, dating back to Aug. 4, is hitting .404/.436/.550 with 23 runs scored and 17 RBI.

He missed 40 games with a left ankle sprain earlier this season, which happened to cover both Dodgers trips to Coors Field. Monday night marks Crawford's first game in Denver this season, batting sixth and playing left field.

Crawford in 2013 played five games in Coors Field and was 7-for-13 (.538) with three doubles and a walk.

With 22 stolen bases this season, Crawford has his most steals in a season since 2010, including 12 steals in 48 games since the All-Star break. Crawford has changed his running style in an attempt to stay healthy, and has paid off. Eno Sarris of Fox Sports has more:

Turns out, Crawford's natural running style actually makes him prone to such injuries. He can "get too long with the stride," he admits, and "that causes hamstring problems." Aside from the two major hamstring injuries that have cost him months, Crawford has had to sit out many a game to nurse those hammies -- the left in particular.

"We've been doing a good job keeping my legs strong, running form, working with trainers, just getting healthy," Crawford says. To keep his running form honest, the team has him running drills with his knees up and his toes up. They also keep an eye on him on the basepaths. "When I get lazy with the running form, they let me know," Crawford laughs.

At the end of play on Aug. 31, Crawford was hitting .264/.305/.359. Just 11 games later, Crawford begins Monday hitting .291/.326/.412 with a .326 wOBA, a 107 OPS+ and 110 wRC+.