The Kenta Maeda Show Takes Center Stage, Dodgers Sweep Padres

Kenta Maeda

When Dave Roberts hooked Dodger starter Kenta Maeda with two outs in the top of the seventh inning and nobody on base on Wednesday evening against the Padres, I was worried. Don’t tell me you weren’t worried too. I understand that pitchers wins and losses mean nothing but tonight I really wanted Maeda to get the win. After all he turned in as dominant of a performance as we have ever seen from him. The Japanese right hander struck out 12, and drove in both of the Dodger’s runs in their 2-0 shutout win over San Diego. We hoped that the bullpen wouldn’t screw it up.

Maeda was the star of the night. He tossed 6.2 shutout frames allowing just three hits and striking out 12. Eric Hosmer had three of the Padre’s four hits on the night, but the only blemish for Maeda was a fourth inning double to Manny Machado. Ultimately that was the Padre’s only chance of scoring until the top of the ninth inning.

Opposing starter left hander Matt Strahm pitched well too. He tossed five innings and allowed two earned runs on seven hits and struck out five. He walked two and made 88 pitches. Maeda on the other hand didn’t walk anyone. He was that flawless. In the bottom of the second he flashed his hitting skills as the Dodgers scored their two runs.

Paderes 0 4 1

Dodgers 2 8 1

WP-Maeda-5-2

LP-Strahm-1-3

SV-Jansen-14

Embed from Getty Images

In that inning Corey Seager reached on an infield single. Chris Taylor’s sacrifice advanced Seager to second. Alex Verdugo reached on an infield grounder as well to put runners at first and third. The call was originally out, but the official replay reviews overturned the call on the field. After Russell Martin struck out, Verdugo stole second. Maeda flared a pop fly single to shallow right field that dropped in for a hit. Two runs scored and the Dodgers took a 2-0 lead.

With Maeda pitching as dominantly as he was, that was more than enough. But is it enough for the bullpen? In the top of the seventh, with the Dodgers still ahead by a 2-0 score, Eric Hosmer singled with one out. After a mound visit from the Dodgers, Maeda whiffed Hunter Renfroe. Then Roberts removed him after he had made 85 pitches because….actually I have no idea. Was Maeda tired? I don’t know. Was he sore after fouling a pitch off of his leg the inning before? Or did Roberts remove Maeda because of a matchup? Just because a match-up happens to present itself during a game doesn’t mean you have to do it.

But Roberts just couldn’t help himself much like an addict can’t help himself during a relapse. In this scenario the addiction is going to a mediocre reliever for no reason other than a stupid match-up. With the way Maeda was pitching it made little sense. Maeda was that good, mixing a sharp slider, changeup and working both sides of the plate with ease.

As I have said before, when starters go deep into games, good things happen. Maeda did get the Dodgers into the seventh with the lead. In general the starters are pitching very well and going deeper into games. Heck even Hyun-jin Ryu pitched a complete game shutout. It’s not a surprise that the Dodgers are winning.

Scott Alexander did get his man and turned the ball to Pedro Baez in the top of the eighth. Baez struck out two of three in that inning and gave the ball to Kenley Jansen. The top of the ninth was frightening. Kenley has already blown one game to the Padres in grand fashion. It almost happened again. After a ground out to Franmil Reyes on a spectacular diving play from Enrique Hernandez, Machado walked. Then Hosmer bunted against the shift for a single.

At some point we have to stop blaming outside events and possibly accept the fact that Kenley is getting old. Eventually he just has to start executing and getting outs. The Kenley of old would have never messed around. He would have immediately struck out the side with ease. And so after Kenley shook off Martin’s calls several times, he used his tried and true pitch, the cutter to get the Dodgers the win. The Kenley of old finally resurfaced. He struck out Renfroe, and then whiffed pinch-hitter Alex Dickerson to preserve the win. It was close, but Maeda got a well deserved win. The Dodgers hit the road for an eight game road trip that begins on Friday night at Cincinnati. Rich Hill will counter Anthony DeSclafani in the series opener.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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67 thoughts on “The Kenta Maeda Show Takes Center Stage, Dodgers Sweep Padres

  1. Another gem by Kenta. Almost wasted after Roberts pulled him after pitching 6 innings of a two hit, 12 K shutout baseball, and only 85 pitches. Kenta totally dominated the game. Kenta had to win his own game with two hits and 2 RBI, as offense again sputtered with 2-10 RISP, 11 LOB. Kenta’s own RBIs were all he needed. Kenley gave him a scare in the ninth, but Jansen wiggled out another save… barely.

    Dodgers escape with a two game sweep of the Padres. DR will have to explain why he yanked Kenta so early.

    Off to Puiggy’s new home, and then to Tampa Bay. Big road trip.

  2. This is the thing about playing match ups and the TTOP, usually it works.

    Things have been going well. One way to know this? Stripling, the long man, hasn’t pitched since May 5.

  3. I think they should pitch Stripling in all situations and not just as the long man. He has enough different pitches to get hitters from both sides out. We are leading the division with some cushion, let’s work out the kids in all types of situations so that we have several relievers that can pitch in different situations. Versatility. We do not have a bullpen with good enough pitchers right now to give specific roles, not even Jansen. So I think we give our best young arms a variety of looks so that they are prepared for all situations come playoff time.

    1. Tend to agree unless, and I highly doubt this, the team really has an eye on innings and doesn’t want to waste them?

      Maybe Stripling’s arm doesn’t work well in short spurts?

      I’m fishing for reasons and not sure why he’s been dormant, but again in many ways it’s a good sign.

  4. Nice win, I hated seeing Maeda leave the game, couldn’t help but think of the giant gas can lit on fire. Even Kinke got to record the SAVE (oh yes he did, and we all know it).

    Wow, still way too many non-clutch at bats with runners in scoring position.

    I’ve mentioned it many times, but it is time to figure out the appropriate roles in the bullpen. I think Gaskanley can be effective if he is only called upon about 2 to 3 times a week. Definitely 3 games in a row for Gaskanley is asking too much.
    Did I mention that was a nice save by Kinke?

  5. From TMZ on Julio Urias’ situation:

    Multiple law enforcement sources tell TMZ Sports … the domestic violence case against Dodgers star pitcher Julio Urias is “weak” based on the evidence. ”

    We’re told the video of the incident does show Urias making physical contact with the woman during the March 13 altercation in the Beverly Center parking lot — but as one source puts it, “It doesn’t appear there’s criminal intent to injure her.”

    One source says it appears Urias used his hands in an attempt to stop her from leaving the area during a heated argument.

    In other words, it seems as though he was trying to restrain her, not strike her … though the woman DID go to the ground at some point during the argument.

    As the team heads to Cinci:

    Last night, Jeter Downs, who the Dodgers acquired from the Reds in the offseason trade that sent Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood to the city of Proctor and Gamble, went 4-for-5, HR (6), 2B, 4 RBI, 3 R, BB. Downs has now notched at least two hits in five of his past six games for the Quakes after his season-high four-hit performance against Lancaster. He went deep in the sixth inning, hitting a three-run shot to left-center field on a 2-0 pitch for his sixth home run of the year.

    1. As far as those who said they witnessed this incident involving Urias, let me say from JOHN 8:7..”He who is without sin, let him throw the first stone”
      Jeter downs could thus be promoted to a higher minor league level soon if he keeps it up.

      1. Im not sure of the verse, but I think there is something like, “He who first throws at an opposing batter gets a warning, he who retaliates gets kick out of the game and fined”. So the moral is “due unto others first, then run for cover”
        It’s in there somewhere.

  6. The Padres badly wanna flex on this team and the Dodgers won’t let them. Guess they have to be satisfied for beating our players with HBP only.

    1. So obvious the opposing pitchers are taking cheap shots at our stars, especially the Padres. JT does crowd the plate, but if pitchers want to brush him back, they need to have good enough control to do it. As far as Verdugo, that was so obvious. I am surprised that the pitcher did not get a warning.

      Sometimes, I think the Dodgers should take the first free shot, get the warning, and that would make opposing pitchers think twice about hitting the Dodgers, or face ejection of himself and the Manager.

      1. Orel was talking about this last night ,as he along with many feel this HBP is and has gone on long enough and it’s time for Dodgers to put a stop to it one way or another. For those who have been around long enough to remember, know full well what Drysdale would have done to the hitters of the opposing team.

  7. Hard to comment on a game I did not watch. I was having dinner with my exe girlfriend. Old Bear adage, never pass up a good home cooked meal! Chicken Piscotty. It was delicious and she made strawberry pie for desert…oh hell, I did not need to lose weight anyway! I did hear Roberts post game interview. He stated that Maeda was starting to miss wide. So he took him out with 2 outs in the 7th. It worked and that’s all that is relevant. 29 wins before they end of May. Been a while since they have done that.

    1. Michael, that may have been the case with Maeda but honestly I was glad to hear the crowd boo Roberts because this isn’t the first time he’s done these things and won’t be the last

      1. He could have waited until Kenta showed that he was really tired or in trouble. He just “assumed” that it was time, based on a couple of wide pitches. Maeda had 12 K’s, and no walks, had just struck out Renfro, to open the seventh, and was cruising along fine, only throwing 85 pitches. DR’s biggest fault is that he tends to over-manage, not trust his players, and play the matchups too often.

        DR was lucky that his decision to yank Kenta did not backfire…. almost did. Alexander started out the eighth with an error, only to be bailed out by Baez, and had it not been for Kiké’s amazing play, Jansen’s ninth would have been a disaster, and he would have blown the save.

        You are right, Paul. No doubt we will see more of this from DR. Unfortunate, isn’t it?

        1. Correct, my friend. DR tends to do as ya said about over managing and not trusting his players. This may simply lead to more and more players not wanting to play for Dodgers and some existing players hoping to be dealt or leave upon FA eligibility.

          1. Or, the Dodgers will continue to be a top team, top destination and well-run organization.

  8. Taken and copied from another blog:

    Great article by Tom Verducci in SI about the changes to baseball – 3 true outcomes style. Here is a bit of it:
    “Here is what the first quarter of 2019 tells us about where baseball is and where it is going:

    • Strikeouts, up for a 14th consecutive season, are at another all-time high.

    • Walks have reached their highest rate in 19 seasons.

    • Home runs are at a record level (2.6 per game). Four of the five seasons with the greatest rate of home runs have occurred in the past four years.

    • Those so-called Three True Outcomes (strikeouts, walks and homers) account for 36 percent of all plate appearances, up from 31 percent in 2015.

    • The rate at which hitters swing and miss is up for a seventh straight year, each year a record high.

    • When hitters do put the ball in play, their chance of getting a hit is the worst in 27 years. Batting average on balls in play had been rock steady (.295-.300 for the previous 11 years) even with the rise in defensive shifts. But it is down sharply this year to .292.

    • Pitches per plate appearance are up for a fourth straight season to 3.93. All four years are the highest since pitch recording began in 1988.

    • Full counts are up for a fourth straight year.

    • Singles are down for a fifth straight year. They are more rare than any time in baseball history.”

    “The Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays play the modern boom-or-bust game as well as any team. The Dodgers ran out to the best record in the National League with the second-most home runs while letting their starting pitchers throw an average of just 85 pitches; only the Braves’ and Padres’ rotations had shorter leashes. The Brewers hit even more homers (68) and averaged the fewest innings per start in the league (4.8).”

    1. That’s why the fans are letting out a collective barf when having to watch whatever sport this has become.

      Good find, Brutus, what a concise recap of what is making this game to boring to observe.

  9. Eric Kratz must feel like a pinball. He was traded again today, this time to the Rays. 3 rd team in a month….

  10. Ferguson activated…Chargois and Gale sent back to OKC……one open spot on the roster…rumors are it could be Kyle Garlick getting the call.

  11. Pheasant Piscotty.

    What happened to Maeda? Did Bert sense he was pitching too good and decide to cool him down?

    Is the revolving door to OKC getting cranked up again? The FO office is moving players up and down like a stripper on the pole.

  12. Dodgers signed RHP Yujo Kitagata to minor league contract… did not know Andy-san went to Japan and found a Walmart Dumpster there. They don’t have Walmarts in Japan, do they?

    A 25 yr old, 98mph fireballer, who bounced around Nippon Professional Baseball League. Looks like a Japanese version of Stetson “Wild Thing” Allie. No control…. throws SCUD missiles.

    If he could not make in professionally in Japan, how can they think he will make it in MLB?

  13. For 2018 and ’19 in Tulsa:
    Ruiz has 39 strikeouts in 492 ABs (543 PA).

    That is freakish.

    Y’know what else is freakish?

    Think back to where you were at about 7:45 pm Eastern last Saturday? Why? Because that was the last time the Marlins scored a run.

    A RUN!

  14. Puig batting an awesome .206 this season. Rumor has it that the Reds have moved his locker from the clubhouse to the outhouse. No word on how many defensive alignment cards he has torn up in the manager’s face. Also no word on how many games that he has arrived more than 30 minutes before game time to this season. What a shame, the guy just can take care of his business, his head keeps getting in the way. The old saying applies “only a stupid bird shits in his own nest”

    Let me see what was I doing at 4:45 pst last saturday, I think I was helping Badger move his 2 chamber bubbler bong into his new place in California. LOL.

    1. I must have missed the original post that led to all these Badger related “jokes.”

      Not sure I’m remorseful.

      1. Ah Badger is a decent guy, I just like to give him shit since he stuck his neck out as the resident pot advocate. So I prod him out of the woodwork every once in a while, so he can attempt a defense. But he knows I tease, I tease. I just am picking the low hanging fruit.

        1. Isn’t everyone a pot advocate?

          I mean I haven’t smoked it in years, but I don’t know of anyone who is against it.

  15. Correction, Puig now at .204 and he has shown up more than a half hour early to exactly 7 games thus far this season.

    1. Kemp gone, Wood on IL with no games pitched, Puig an impressive pre-Mendoza 203… only one doing anything is Farmer. I’m glad Farmer is getting some playing time. Must affect your game when you get dumped for nothing.

      Well, another gem by a Dodger starting pitcher. Total domination. This time it is Hill. BUT, DR yanks him after 6 shutout innings, allowing only 2 hits, and no walks, with 10 K’s. I guess DR did not want to let Rich get his career high in strikeouts. Nothing surprises me anymore.

      Oh well, a win is a win, I guess.

          1. Definitely time to cool off Joc, Bellinger and Muncy. Those guys have been producing way too well, they really need some bench time.

            Turner can’t get a break, or maybe he is getting all the breaks, out of the line-up due to fouling a ball off his leg. With his luck lately, I definitely would not get into a car he is driving.

  16. I’m tracking a new advanced stat of my own making. It’s really good actually and kind of an “old school” advanced stat. It’s a starting pitching stat and the Dodgers lead the majors this year. Hill’s great outing today will increase the Dodgers lead on this stat.

    I’ll share it once I get some time to track more pitchers with it and how it played out in amongst the top teams on the last few years.

  17. Well, in MLB today, everything is based on performance.

    In order to get the best contract possible, a player must have great numbers. There are also many contracts that include incentives.

    Seems players would shy away from playing for the Dodgers because this organization will deflate your stock in no time. They will yank you or bench you if you show any positive signs of achieving goals, improving on stats, or extending streaks.

    Players, don’t play for the Dodgers if:

    You have incentives in your contract, such as # of complete games, # of shutouts, # of strikeouts, # of innings pitched. # of HR’s, # of RBI’s, # of games started.

    You are in the “zone”, seeing the ball well, and hitting everything in sight.

    You want to improve your stats against LH or RH pitcher.

    You are coasting along, pitching a great game, totally dominating the opposing hitters.

    You have a perfect game or no-hitter in the make.

    You want to be an everyday player… You do not want to be platooned.

    You do not want to become a one dimensional player.

    You don’t want to go into arbitration with twisted stats that define you as an average, one dimensional player.

    You don’t want to spend the majority of your career in the minors, while the FO stuffs the roster with “Dumpster” caliber players.

    You do not want to be brainwashed into thinking that you are just a one dimensional player.

    Most importantly….You want to win a World Series.

    1. So, we could take this conjecture and postulation….

      Or, you could look at reality?

      Where most players are wanting to play for LA.

  18. Well that was the Hill Bluto loves. Excellent job from him and the offense. Jump on the opposition and keep applying the pressure. Puig did not come close to hitting anything from Hill. Good thing CK is not pitching in this series since exe Dodgers have lit him up this year for 4 dingers. Good to see Belli go deep and get his 2nd May dinger. Joc is right on his tail. Not getting into the pot argument. Never used it and never will. Alcohol was my nerve cooler of choice and I quit that stuff in 1990. Badger has been moving back to Cali, so he has missed the little missiles shot at him.

    1. What pot argument? I didn’t know we were even having one. And no missiles shot at Badger unless you know something that I don’t know. Badger likes to have fun and tease a bit, you have no need to be his lawyer in here, he’s a big boy.

      1. Yes, no Pot argument, not sure what you’re talking about.

        Hill is just awesome to watch.

        Love.

        PS: True, I have found something you and I agree on. The pacing (or lack, thereof) of Oscar’s video blogs. Yikes.

        1. Read MIchael’s post and you’ll see the pot argument he references”Not getting into the pot argument.” No you and I are not even close to any argument about such silly things as pot. Michael is floating thru space thinking he had missed something. Pot: Been there done that, next. Besides why do it now, it’s legal, lol.

        2. Sorry, did you say something, I nodded off during the last Oscar video. Okay, I’m rethinking the pot thing, maybe it would still be of use for me when i am watching one of those 4 hour videos, lol.

  19. Way overdue for a boring game. DR’s stacked Left-handed lineup shooting blanks (as usual), 0-4 RISP, 9 LOB, 9 KO’s … not many RISP, because the bats were silent. Problems compounded by Buehler’s surrendering of an early lead ignited by an early long ball.

    Just don’t like the “stacked” lineup. Seems to give the opposing pitcher the edge.

    Kelly and Ferguson came in and mopped up the mess, and got some work in, in the process. That is a good thing.

    Another game tomorrow, if it does not rain. Ryu should be able to get them back on track…. hope he brought some home cooking with him. “The Power of Kim Chee”, Breakfast of Champions!

    1. I went to school with Kim Chee, she was a real number. Her sister Chee Chee was stacked. Those two were a real fun roll.

        1. Hell no, you thought wrong. When someone throws me soft one down the middle of the plate, I jump all over it. BTW, it’s kimchi not Kim Chee, just thought you should know, geez!

          Don’t sweat last night’s game, those kind of shutouts happen when you play some of the top teams with dominating pitching staffs, it just can’t be helped. Oops, hang on a second, I seeing something here on the sportswire. I just realized the Dodgers were playing the Reds, please disregard my first sentence in this paragraph.

          1. Not the game , True Blue, just thought you were above making stupid, racially toned, sexual comments about Korean Women…. and I am not Korean.

  20. The Reds currently lead the National League in ERA at 3.31. The Dodgers are second at 3.39. Reds’ payroll for pitchers: $47.6 million. Dodgers’ payroll for pitchers: $102.3 million

  21. Bluefan, you were the one that gave the Power of Kim Chee reference. So if there was any racial overtone, you dealt it, not me. However I am so sick and tired of those that throw out racist accusations, it’s getting fuggin nauseating. Everyone needs to stop looking for ways to be offended, cheese and rice.

    1. Kim Chee is a common staple side dish, with eggs or any meal. No reference to a woman, that is what it is called. Nothing racial about that. Do your homework before making stupid, derogatory comments. Talk baseball…

      I’m just sayin’

      1. It’s kimchi, I know it better than you. So saying a Korean person is powered by Kim Chee is totally different from you saying Fernando was powered by beans or some other stupid cultural reference. I suggest you think it thru before making stupid derogatory comments. Geez, do you even hear yourself? Shake yourself BlueFan, don’t talk out both sides of your mouth.

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