Kenta Maeda and the Dodgers Rise Above Cheaters to Win Game and Series

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For one thing, the Dodgers came limping into this third and final game of the series against the cheatin’ Cardinals after barely winning an extra inning nightmare, followed by getting stomped in a game that had no business being that close. The Dodgers were feeling good after gaining some momentum against weak teams on their early schedule, but they were stalling against a heavyweight from another division.

Add to all of that, Kenta Maeda was getting the start after a long layoff on the 10-day disabled list, and things looked very iffy for the boys in blue.

The game certainly started out iffy as the Cheaters batted almost completely through their lineup in the first inning, and were leading 3-0 before the seats were warm – or even half filled for that matter. The Blue Faithful were starting to get restless.

Chase Utley had something to say about all this, and he blasted a solo home run (his first of the year) to get the boys on the board.

Maeda settled down and he held the cheaters scoreless in the 2nd, the 3rd, and then again in the 4th!

That’s when the Dodgers turned it on with a couple of clutch at bats by Enrique Hernandez and Yasiel Puig. After he fouled off three inside pitches, the cheaters tried to pitch the Banana Kid outside. He went with the pitch and singled himself aboard. That hit also moved Cody Bellinger to third.

With a two strike count, Yasiel brilliantly shortened up and with a “protect” swing, he singled and knocked in Bellinger to bring the Dodgers within one run (Kike moved to third).

Hyun-Jin Ryu was warming up in the BP (that’s right, warming up!), but the  skipper let Maeda bat, and it proved to be the right move. Puig stole second, and then Maeda singled to LF, driving in two runs and putting the Dodgers ahead for the first time in the game. Dodgers 4-3.

Maeda pitched his fourth consecutive scoreless inning and the Dodger offense went right back to work. Chris Taylor was on third and he came in to score on a wild pitch.

The File Cabinet doubled and he knocked in another run. Dodgers 6-3.

Hyun-Jin Ryu came in as a reliever and he got the job done in the sixth. The Dodgers had the cheaters reeling and they did not let up. The Banana kid doubled, and then Chris Taylor doubled to knock him in. Dodgers 7-3. Meanwhile, Ryu kept up the good work and he threw two more scoreless innings. And he looked pretty sharp doing it.

He was doing so well, in the bottom of the eighth, Ryu was allowed to lead off the inning, which meant he would be closing the game out. He started the ninth with a four pitch walk, so Kenley Jansen got up in the BP. He wasn’t needed after all, as Ryu got a force out at second, and followed that up with a double play to end the game.

Dodgers Win 7-3 and take the series two games to one.

Kenta Maeda (W 4-2) went 5 with 7 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks and 4 Ks.  ERA 5.08  Not great numbers, but most of the hurt came from a rusty first inning. After that, he shut out the cheaters.

 

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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71 thoughts on “Kenta Maeda and the Dodgers Rise Above Cheaters to Win Game and Series

  1. Great job all the way around. A little deception went a long way.
    Not to be a Debbie Downer but let’s hope this continues.
    Please all mighty FAZ let them just play and this just might continue.
    Like to a meddling mother in law, “Stay the F#(k out of it” and let things play out.

  2. Well they won, and it wasn’t pretty. But Maeda muddled through 5 and got a key hit. I was far more impressed with the way Ryu pitched in his 4 innings out there. Corey still looks to be in his slide, and is striking out way too much. Bellinger got a nice hit, but the K’s keep coming. Taylor continues to be very impressive. Who would have thought that on the 26th of May, Kike Hernandez would have more HR’s than Gonzo and Turner combined. Strange season.

    1. As impressive as Taylor has been, and the Dodgers for the time being need to find a spot for him while he’s hot, he also has a BABIP of .443, which is stratospheric.

      What does that mean? BABIP, or Batting Average Balls In Play has a league average from year to year of about .297. You see his number and immediately think that he’s due to a regression because a part of his good stat line has been due to luck in some measure.

      Some caveats: Throughout his career in the majors and the minors, when he’s been good, his BABIP has been typically pretty high – except for his dud year in 2015, when his BA was .170 and his BABIP was .254.

      What’s changed? The things that I notice when I look at his stats are that his line drive % holds pretty constant, and his hard hit% is actually lower than his down year, but he’s also hitting fewer fly balls, and more of his batted balls are being pulled or going up the middle. In 15, the percentage of balls hit to the opposite field jumped noticeably. Of course his home run to fly ball percentage is a lot better this year.

      Maybe he’s made adjustments. He’s changed his stance, he’s seeing the ball better and reacting earlier and getting around on pitches sooner and not hitting so many lazy fly balls to the opposite field.

      Maybe he’s the real deal.

      1. Orel and Joe were talking about him a lot last night on the broadcast. He and Turner Ward worked on his swing almost all of spring training. He is supposedly a real gym rat and works out a lot. He also puts in a lot of hours trying to repeat his swing. He definitely has improved.

  3. Little tidbit here for all you the Dodgers should trade for Ryan Braun lovers. Braun headed back to the DL. His hammy is acting up again….that would have been a smart move……..NOT!.

    1. That started when they plunked Hanley in the first game of the 2013 NLCS and knocked him out of the series, therefore ruining any chance the Dodgers had. Without their hottest hitter, they were toast. They have been accused of stealing signs, and hacking computers to see scouting reports.

    2. 3 reasons (in no particular order):
      1. The hacking cheat against the Astros
      2. The glorifying of PED cheater, Mark McGwire
      3. Drilling Hanley Ramirez in the playoffs, on purpose, to knock him out of the series.

  4. Perhaps it was this guy:

    NEWS IN BRIEF
    9.15.16
    Soviet Onion

    St Loius via Moscow:

    Admitting he had become disenchanted with the entire process, 21-year-old Russian hacker Misha Yurasov told reporters Thursday he was starting to feel like he has no impact whatsoever on the U.S. presidential election. “I try to keep involved in politics, but I just don’t know if my hacking into the accounts of major American political figures is going to make any difference one way or another. It’s time to take my talents to another level. The Cardinals of St Loius have contacted me about a job in their scouting department.” said Yurasov, who noted that he was just one hacker among a sea of others and that the election results would probably be the same no matter what he did. “Americans are idiots. In the end, whether I hack into the DNC or release Donald Trump’s tax returns, it isn’t going to change the outcome of the general election. I’m really just wasting my time trying to stay informed on all the network security vulnerabilities of the Democratic and Republican campaigns—it’s probably not even worth it. I can make a real difference in American Baseball. The Americans are really stupid and vulnerable when it comes to their pastime”. Yurasov added that the only way to have any real influence in the U.S. presidential race would likely be to hack into a major American financial institution, and the money in MLB offers that opportunity.

    1. In other words, the American Political System is so F—d -up, the best thing we can do is leave it alone. We might actually improve it if we try to mess it up more.

    1. Bluto

      Are the Yankees going to change there grooming policy, for Harper?

      Where are the Yankees going to get pitching?

    1. Not guilty of what exactly?

      Machado’s not all that. We should get Arenado. He’s a free agent in 2020. He’s the perfect fit. He’ll be 29, so he will soon be leaving his prime years and who knows, he might be on the DL by then too.

    2. The most important thing that happened in that game last night, is that Maeda was able to continue to pitch well, against a good team, after giving up three runs, early.

      I think it was good that the team was able to come back and win, after being down three runs, early too.

      That is the Robert’s effect!

      And I think Maeda could have pitched farther into that game, but I think Roberts just wanted to take a look at Ryu, out of the bullpen, last night.

      I didn’t see Ryu’s top velocity last night, but I think he should be able to throw a little harder, if he is pitching only a couple of innings.

      But it looked like Roberts used him more, as a longer relief pitcher, last night.

      The biggest problem with the team right now, isn’t Corey, it is the lack of offensive production in the outfield, except for
      Bellinger.

      But if Taylor can keep up his offensive production, he might be the answer to the problem we have, in the outfield.

      But he will have to be tested more on defense, before we know if he can be that answer.

      1. Outfield. I want Bellinger, Verdugo and Puig.

        Check that. I want Verdugo, Trout and Puig.

        Infield – Machado, Seager, Taylor, Bellinger.

        I’m ok with Squirrel behind the plate just so as not to piss off patch and catbox.

        Starting pitching – Kershaw, Urias and 3 other guys currently not with us.

        Bullpen. Jansen, 6 flame throwers and a LOOGY

        Bench – Turner and whoever he gets along with.

        Total payroll – who gives a sh*t. I ain’t payin it. Guggenhymens are.

        Play Ball!

        1. Would love to see Trout in the blue and a team mate for Kersh, but Angel fans would tar and feather their FO if they let him get away.

        2. I’m pissed anyway. You didn’t give proper respect and deference to The Great and Mighty FAZ.

          Funny you should mention Trout. There is this guy who writes another blog who was coming up with these somewhat hare brained trade schemes to land Trout. Fanciful but fun….though not likely, not totally out of the realm of possibility. You would have enjoyed them.

          “Total payroll – who gives a sh*t. I ain’t payin it. Guggenhymens are.” …..typical progressive former hippy

          1. Don’t forget patch, before I became a progressive hippy I was a conservative Marine combat vet fighting the communist menace for corporate Umerika. Something like that can change a person’s perspective. You should try it.

      2. The biggest problem isn’t OF production! Are you kidding?!?!?

        Gonzalez is woefully underperforming. He still doesn’t have a HR.
        Forsythe was injured and is getting back into the swing of things.
        Turner’s injured.
        Seager has marginally underperformed.
        Toles didn’t do much and is now injured.
        Pederson is lost.
        Puig is OK.
        Beyond Grandal, you could say nobody is really at optimal performance.

        1. I agree, I said yesterday would anyone have believed that Kike Hernandez on the 25th of May would have more HR’s than Turner and Gonzo combined. Taylor has been a life saver so far. Kike Hernandez on steroids and a better fielder.

        2. Bluto

          You better take a look at Tole’s stats again, he did much more, then you think, and he had better offensive numbers, then both Joc and Puig have!

          He was one of the guys, that helped this team get back on track again.

          And this team misses, his offensive, production.

          Because Toles has better stats, then both Puig, and Joc have, this year.

          And how can you say that Corey has underperformed, and say Puig has performed.

          You better take a look at both Puig’s and Joc’s stats, because you are off base!

          Because their stats, say different, then you are saying.

          I thought you were about the numbers, so you better check your numbers.

          Agone had to come back from the DL early, because Toles, got hurt.

          I don’t understand why you keep questioning a player,
          that isn’t 100 percent.

          We have Bellinger, so we don’t have to worry, about Agone.

          This is the second year in the row, that our outfield has not produced much, on offense.

          1. Bellinger has been a find it is true, but the pitchers are beginning to figure the kid out and find his weakness’s. He is striking out a lot. Now and then he singles like he did last night. Gonzo is not at 100% that is true. But neither has Joc been at 100% for a while. Toles was getting hot before he got injured and his stats for when he was playing are better than Joc. But Puig has provided superior defense, more power and his RBI total is right up there with Bellinger for the team lead. He is only 1 homer behind Bellinger and leads the team in stolen bases with 6. Sometimes MJ, your value to the team is measured in more than your batting average, which for Puig is pretty low right now. But he had a clutch single last night. Grandal on the other hand has a better batting average and OBP, but he has not been very clutch this year. His biggest improvement has been throwing out runners. It is a team game and unless everyone is hitting on all cylinders, it is hard to win. Platooning on this roster, even though I really like doing that, is almost needed because there are so many guys banged up.

          2. Are you OK, MJ? Your response is beyond rational.

            I keep questioning Gonzalez because he keeps continuing to under-deliver. He doesn’t have a HR yet!

            Joc hasn’t delivered either, which is why I call him “lost.” That’s not a compliment. It seems you think I was defending him, I’m perplexed as to why.

            If Toles and his .4 WAR and sub .800 OPS platoon was delivering, then that’s something I’m not really into.

            Seager’s stats are lower than last year’s. Is it too much to have expected him to improve rather than slightly regress?

            I think RF is a ripe opportunity for improvement, but Puig is OK (especially because he’s a RH bat)

          1. Whenever I’m in doubt and need inspiration, or just need confirmation on how the world really ought to be, I always refer back to Chairman Mao. Along with Stalin and Pol Pot, he forms the pantheon, my own Rushmore of great men. Kim Jong Un can only aspire to his greatness.

          2. Michael

            You are wrong about Puig supplying more power then, Toles.

            Toles hit almost the same amount of HRs, and hit in as many runs, that Puig did, but with less PA.

            And Grandal has been much more clutch, then Puig has, and that is why Puig is hitting eight.

            And that is why Puig is OPSing lower, then Grandal.

          3. Bluto

            You can cherry pick WAR, but that is not an accurate stat, at this point in the season.

            And by the way, what is Puig’s and Joc’s WAR?

            You conveniently left their WAR numbers out.

            And I believe Toles had a better WAR number, then they do.

            And while your at it, what is Seagers WAR number, as compared to Puig, since you said Puig, was fine.

            And to say Joc is lost and to say Toles has done nothing, is a farse.

            The truth is that Joc hasn’t done anything, not Toles!

          4. MJ,

            I repeat my question, are you OK? Your argument is borderline moronic and you are reading things I never said nor implied into my post.

            Do you realize that being ‘lost’ is a bad thing?!?! It is much worse than under-contributing.

            For whatever reason you seem to think I’m defending Puig and Pederson in light of Toles! I’m not, and never have. I like Toles, he swings and runs hard. He didn’t contribute. Hopefully when he’s healthy he will.

            Speaking of hope… I also hope Puig and Pederson contribute more.

            Go check out Toles’ stats. Consider he was being platooned. Then come back here and try to make the case he wasn’t part of a generally under-performing team.

            With regard to Seager you again are creating false context! I never compared the two intentionally, because there’s no reason to. What in the world does Puig and his performance have to do with evaluating Seager not improving on last year?!?!? It’s inane.

            All the people I cited could be contributing (or could have in Toles’ case) more. That’s my point. I am honestly not sure what your point is.

        3. I think she make a fair point.

          Forsythe is coming back…and Taylor has filled in admirably. So much so that the challenge will be to find a spot for him so the team gets his at bats. Hence…the outfield (which validates MJ’s point to an extent)

          Turner’s coming back. And the team could use him.

          Though it doesn’t see like he’s lighting it up like last year, Seager’s OBP is higher, and the wRC+ is almost identical to last year.

          Toles was starting to pick it up before he got injured.

          Puig is ok, though his BABIP is low and he’s making good contact. I think his average starts to come up. I can hope.

          Gonzalez is going to continue to be an issue.

          ….the infield situation stands to improve when some of these guys coming back. MJ’s point is that the outfield is going to continue to have offensive holes in it that won’t be fixed with guys coming off the DL. …..Who knows…maybe Ethier can make and appearance and do something.

          There was some advocacy on some other blog about the possibility of trading for Lorenzo Cain. The Royals want to sell and he’s on a one year deal so can be had relatively cheaply. Problem is he’s not hitting all that well this year. He’s still playing good defense, though.

          1. MJ,

            Are you OK?

            Do you realize that being ‘lost’ is a bad thing?!?!

            I get the feeling you think I’m defending Puig and Pederson in light of Toles! I’m not, and never have.

            Go check out Toles’ stats. Consider he was being platooned.

            With regard to Seagrams you again are creating false context what does Puig have to do with evaluating Seaget?!?!? It’s inane.

            Both could be contributing more. That’s my point. I am honestly not sure what your point is.

      3. Taylor is a stop gap measure in the outfield. He is not going to be out there everyday. In an organization loaded with natural outfielders he is no more than a emergency measure. Roberts will find him playing time that’s for sure, and most of it will be giving guys like Turner and Forsythe a day off.

        1. Taylor will play, as long as he is producing.

          And the only one in the outfield that is producing well offensively, is Bellinger.

          And left field is not Bellinger’s first position, either.

          1. Again, you state something we all know. Bellinger is a 1st baseman first and is only playing the outfield to get his bat in the lineup every day. Taylor will play like you said as long as he is hitting and producing. But he is no outfielder. He is a SS playing the outfield. Not expected to be out there long term. Offensively Puig has almost matched Bellinger in RBI’s and home runs. So he may not have a high batting average, but he is doing his job effectively. Bellinger has 9 homers and 25 RBI’s, Puig has 8 Homers, 25 RBI’s and 6 stolen bases. How can you say he is not producing offensively? Right now he is the 2nd best producer on the team. He has more homers than Turner, Gonzo and Grandal combined. Better check the total stats there kiddo. Puig has been doing better than you think.

      4. Way more impressed with Ryu than Maeda. Maeda did manage to get out of a couple jams, but Ryu shut the Cardinals down. His curve was really breaking and unlike his last start, the ball was staying down in the strike zone. Something he needs to do with a fastball topping out at about 92.

        1. Michael

          To say that Puig has almost matched Bellinger’s power production, and he has almost hit in, as many runs, doesn’t mean a thing!

          Because Puig has had many more plate appearances, then Bellinger has had, and because of that, he should have better numbers, but he doesn’t.

          You better check Puig’s OPS, and that is the number that tells a player’s run production, and Puig is more near the bottom, in OPS on the team.

          He doesn’t even have a better OPS then Kike.

          He is not close to being second, on the team.

          Grandal also has much better offensive numbers, then Puig, has too, so you better check Grandal’s OPS.

          1. MJ, you are so wrong. I know what Puig’s OPS is and I know he is hitting .230. I also know he is tied for the team lead with 25 RBI’s. How can you say that means nothing? Scoring runs is what it is all about, and enough about Toles, his .275 average 5 homers and 15 RBI’s. That is going to be his total for the year. He is done, finished, Kaput for the year and will contribute nothing until next year. Puig has been far superior in the OF to any other defender we have stuck out there. Joc has been on the DL twice now. He does look lost and would probably benefit from a stint down on the farm. Puig has struck out exactly 1 time less than Bellinger who has been in 16 less games. Puig’s problems are there for all to see, but when he is on, he crushes the ball. And he does most of the damage at Dodger Stadium. As expected of a rookie, Bellinger’s stats are trending down. I care less what Kike’s OPS is. He is a sub and he has been doing a decent job, but a guy in the lineup every day has to drive in runs, and Puig does that. Outside of Corey and Bellinger, and Grandal, have more than 20. Kike’s BABIP is only .035 higher than Puig. His extra base hits are high and that he has done well. But he has only 3 homers and 13 RBI’s. Puig’s strength is his defense and in that sense he is FAR better than Toles. But Toles was doing a great job, and no one should forget that. But he is no longer in the equation. You play what you have available. I figure that Puig will hit close to if not over 20 homers and drive in close to 75 runs hitting maybe .250 if he really picks it up. Is that any less valuable than the 27 HR’s 69 ribbie and a .221 average they got out of Grandal last year? Like I said, OPS is a geek stat. I care about what I see in your RBI and homer totals. That tells me if you are at the top of the run producers. Puig is not close to what he once was. We all know that, but saying HR’s and RBI’s count for nothing and mean nothing and only OBP, OPS and all that stuff shows how good a player is, is very narrow minded. Puig has also scored 22 runs. The team leader is Seager. And Puig is doing most of his damage from the 8 hole. His presence there makes the Dodger lineup longer and harder to get through.

  5. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com had a story about who will bid on Harper after 2018. The Dodgers are no where on his list. I would agree with that assessment since it will probably take a 400 million dollar contract to land him. I did forget how young the guy is. He will be 26 when he hits free agency……

    1. Perfect age for a young star to hit FA

      Puig is just in a slump MJ. Some of his hardest hit balls lately have been right at somebody. He’s got the new launch angle thing going so I look for him to hit .275 with 25 home runs. (sound familiar?) Ok, I’ll include him in the trade for Trout. They’ll want Seager and Urias too. And De Leon. Cotton. Schebler.

      This team hasn’t hit as well as they will.

      Ryu is a light on this team. He’s off and on.

      Ok, time for lunch.

  6. The Dodgers have claimed two players off waivers from the Mariners, the teams announced today. Infielder Mike Freeman and righty Chris Heston are now headed to the Los Angeles organization.

    Both players have been optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to open their tenures with the new club. To create roster space, outfielder Andrew Toles and southpaw Scott Kazmir were shifted to the 60-day DL.

  7. MJ, suffice it to say that you have your way of judging a players value and talent and I have mine. I am more old school and believe RBI’s and HR’s and wins mean something. You prefer the geek stats. That’s ok. Your choice. Still the rules say it is the team with the most runs that wins, not the team with the highest OBP, or OPS. How many you drive in and score means more to me than a high OBP.

    1. Michael

      Toles hit five HRs and hit in 13 runs, in April.

      Puig hit five HRs, and knocked in 12 runs, in April.

      And I do like Puig and do think he is really good, in right.

      This was more about what Bluto said.

      And I don’t always agree with some of the saber metric stats either, and OPS is one of those stats.

      Because I don’t always think that OPS evaluates certain players, correctly.

      Take a look at what Duke Snider did in his age 24, season.

      And then take a look at what Joc did in his age 24 , season.

      And then take a look at both players OPS that year, that shows some of the issues with OPS.

      1. Duke was a HOF caliber player. I saw him play many times. Difference is the Dodgers back then took Duke aside and worked with him extensively to get him to recognize the strike zone. They would stand him at the plate with no bat and pitch to him. He had to tell the coach whether the pitch was a strike or a ball. If someone tried that with Joc or even Puig, it might better their knowledge of what was a strike or a ball, and which pitch they should be going after. Grandal has picked up his average simply on a conversation with Dave Roberts about pitch selection. Dave felt, and rightly so, that Grandal was chasing too many pitches that were balls. Simple adjustments sometimes make a huge difference. The problem’s Joc and Puig are having are a result of reworking your entire approach at the plate and then becoming comfortable with that change. Puig has done better with that than Joc, but still looks uncomfortable at times. Joc looks comfortable one at bat and then out of sorts the next. No consistency. Bellinger is going to have a huge problem with strikeouts unless he learns to shorten up his swing. I never had a problem with striking out at any level of the game I played, simply because my main approach was take the ball where it is pitched and don’t try to pull. If you get a hanger inside, turn on it. When I was playing fast pitch softball, about 70 percent of my hits went to LF. Just the way I played the game. Puig shortened up and hit a single to right last night. He does that more, and his average will begin to climb.

        1. Michael

          With the umpires we have had lately, it is hard to know where the strike zone is.

          You right Bellinger does lead the team with power numbers, but he is striking out at a higher rate, then anyone else.

          Both Corey and Cody, sure went for those wait high fastballs last night, but they didn’t hit any of them.

          They were a little to high for them to hit, and they are going to have to learn to let those high pitches, go by.

  8. Well this ought to start heart’s pumping in our little kingdom: The Filing Cabinet to Atlanta for Matt Kemp!

    1. Jonah

      Are you going to watch the game tonight against the Cubbies?

      I think the ball may fly out better tonight, even though it will only be 67 degrees at game time.

      Because the humidity level, is just under 50 percent, so it is a little muggy, here.

      Let’s hope it is the Dodger players hitting the ball out, and not the Cubbies.

    2. Atl probably not interested in a powerless Filing Cabinet. They traded for Matt Adams and he has hit 3 HR’s since he got there. Kemp is hitting over 330 with 8 dingers. Bad trade for the Braves.

      1. Michael

        Cardinal fans were not happy with the Matt Adams trade, especially after he is doing so well.

        Because Carpenter isn’t doing, much.

  9. Off to see Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man’s Chest. My hero, Capt. Jack Sparrow awaits! Arggggggggggggggggggggggggh! Ahoy me mateys! Avast all ye land lubbers! Run out the long nines!

  10. Oscar does not give up with the videos, does he? I should think just watching one of them would cure him. Bugs Bunny he isn’t…

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