Maeda Battered Early in Wrigley Opener, Dodgers Forfeit

Kenta Maeda

I’ve been watching baseball a long time, most of my life so I’m able to pick up on patterns that maybe some people don’t pick up on. I’m not one to blind myself with data and ignore commons sense like the Dodger front office does at times. I know some of you have been watching baseball longer than I have been alive so I am aware that you get it as well. The first couple of innings of a baseball game are important. If you fall behind by more than a few runs too early in the game it normally means a certain loss. So when Kenta Maeda gave up six runs before the chairs were warm after the first inning, it meant an absolute 100% loss for the Dodgers in their opening game against the Cubs.

For the record, the Dodgers did lose, by a score of 7-2. Sure it is possible for the Dodgers or any other team to come back from a 6-0 deficit, but it’s very unlikely. This is what happens when your starter or pitching staff gives up a bunch of runs before your team gets to the plate. That’s what happened in game 7 of the 2017 World Series. There’s no imperial data to support my observation that when a starter or pitching staff puts a team in a hole right away that the lineup basically gives up. But the results speak loudly.

Dodgers  2 7 0

Cubs        7 8 0

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When the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw gave up 3 runs in the first inning of their 5-0 loss to the Cubs in 2016 NLCS, they lost. The offense tallied two hits. When the Dodgers went down 5-0 after the second inning in game 7 of the 2017 World Series to the Astros, they lost 5-1. The offense scored one run. When the Dodgers went down 2-1, and then 4-1 and eventually 5-1 in game 5 of the 2018 World Series against the Red Sox, the offense tallied three hits I think. You understand.

So when Maeda allowed six earned runs to the Cubs on Tuesday night in the Dodger’s 7-2 loss, I knew it was a loss right away and I started dinner early. To be fair, Maeda almost got out of it. After giving up two walks and a single, Maeda struck out Kyle Schwarber and it was looking like he just might get out of the trouble. The problem was his fastball and slider wasn’t working. The only pitch that was moving well for him was his changeup. Then he tried to sneak a hanging breaking ball by Willson Contreras and it didn’t work. Contreras the Chicago backstop cleared the bases doubling in three runs. Daniel Descalso doubled in another run. Then the following inning Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run home run, and that was it.

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Opposing starter Jose Quintana tossed seven innings allowing just two earned runs on four hits. He struck out seven and walked two and picked up an easy win. As mentioned earlier, the Dodger bats faced with nearly an impossible task, gave up. They did score two runs on seven hits, but it was not nearly enough. Justin Turner and Corey Seager did notch two hits each. Cody Bellinger doubled and is still batting .416. The Dodgers were 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base. It’s important to also note that this is not anyone’s fault (except for Maeda) in particular. Maeda just didn’t have it today. And as I mentioned above when your starter gives up 4 or 5 or six runs in the first or second inning, then you’re probably going to lose. And the Dodgers did just that. The series goes on Wednesday evening as Walker Buehler faces Cole Hamels.

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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12 thoughts on “Maeda Battered Early in Wrigley Opener, Dodgers Forfeit

  1. Ugly game. Everything went wrong. Maeda totally lost on the mound… I thought he was pitching batting practice. Probably due to Ump’s erratic strike zone…. sure could have a pitcher’s head spinning. Finally settled down by the third inning, but too late. Damage was already done.

    Not to make excuses for Maeda, but he has been run through the mill. He has been a starter, to stand-by closer, and back to starter again. In addition, preceding pitchers are given extra days rest, throwing off Maeda from a normal routine. Starters need to be able to get into a routine, in order to be effective.

    Kenta’s horrid start did not matter. As it turned out, the offense was a no-show anyway. Same old story…. dreaded “Lefty Lineup” and crap shoot batting order, fails again….2-8 RISP, 11 KO, 7 LOB. Could also be due to Ump’s strike zone…. forcing batters to swing at bad pitches.

    Was the Ump squeezing Maeda’s strike zone, and expanding the Cubs pitcher’s zone? I could not view the game. Regardless, it is frustrating when the Ump affects the outcome of the game.

    Going to be a rough road ahead, as Opponents will probably be throwing lefties at them…. they would be stupid not to. Looks like that means “Joc Pop” will be spending a lot of time on the pine.

    You think it is about time to dis the Lefty Lineup Platoon, and stick with the hot bats? Lefty Lineup is failing more often than not.

    1. It doesn’t matter to Freidman and puppet boy Roberts. They will do this again and again and again and again against LHP without regard to the obvious outcome of the game. And because That Andy creature insists on a LH heavy hitting roster, it was no wonder why Roberts could not match up with the Cubs in the later innings because all that was left on the bench were 3 LHB and the weakest hitting catcher (Gale) known in the history of mankind!

  2. Maeda gets ahead of the hitter and then nibbles. He nibbles until the count is full and then it’s a hittable pitch for fear of walking the hitter or a pitch off the plate. This occurs with him a lot and I presume Honeycutt/Roberts have addressed this issue but he obviously isn’t listening. Inconsistent ump was also a problem but when you don’t have your command, the ump loses his also. I can’t wait for electronic umpiring.

  3. Sorry Scott,

    Forgot the mention. I do agree with you, that when the starting pitcher puts their team in a deep hole early in the game, it more often than not leads to a sure loss. It’s like throwing in the towel in boxing.

    There is no excuse for erratic pitch calling by the ump, but in baseball, you have to earn respect of the ump. If the pitcher shows good command of the strike zone, they will expand the zone a bit. If the pitcher shows little control, the zone shrinks.

    Huge early leads also knocks the wind out of the sails of the offense. Batters loose focus, get frustrated, and tend to try to do too much by themselves, and not as a team.

    It is all psychological. The mind is a powerful thing, and can make a person do things they do not intend to do.

  4. Ted Barrett is a veteran umpire. But last night his K zone favored the home team. He squeezed Maeda more than once. But Maeda, who is a much better pitcher when he attacks the zone instead of nibbling at the corners, did not change his approach. He just kept nibbling and the only pitch he could control was his change up and the Cubs took advantage. Good sign out of all of this was Turner getting two hits and seemingly starting to come out of his malaise at the plate. Seager also looked like he might be getting ready to heat up. Rest of the offense, not so much. Cannot wait for Martin to be back so Barnes can get some rest. He needs a blow really bad. Taylor is another story all together. The guy is totally lost up there. He has reverted to his Mariner days. He needs to go down and try to re-discover his swing because what he is doing right now is not working at all. Fortunately the player having the best start at AAA OKC is Daniel Castro who has MLB experience. And although he is a natural SS, he can play around the infield. Will Smith is hitting .300, but is not on the 40 man roster. Neither is Castro. None of the pitchers in AAA impressing anyone much either. But with Bluto’s boy, Dick Mountain coming back Sunday, Strip heads back to the pen. So sick and tired of this lefty lineup. About as potent as watered down booze. Run your 8 best hitters out there every night. That puts Taylor on the bench. Freese has not seen much action, but will the next 2 days.

    1. What can I say, Michael, except we are all sick and tired of this lineup shuffling because of a LHP but keep in mind it was Freidman who assembled a roster that has ZERO and I mean ZERO power from the right hand hitter’s box!

  5. It’s very plain and simple to me about yesterday’s ‘game’
    Well, nobody should be surprised about last night’s pittyful performance against a LHP. and EVERY team knows that Dodgers are way LH heavy and it was easy for Cubs to match up in the later innings because all Roberts had left on his bench were LHB and a very weak hitting rocky Gale. Get used to it folks, because as long as Freidman and puppet boy Roberts are running things (allegedly) this team WILL NOT SEE ANOTHER WS If I was a betting person I would have won $$$ big time in predicting yesterday’s lineup against a LHP would FAIL

    1. Love this line:

      Get used to it folks, because as long as Freidman and puppet boy Roberts are running things (allegedly) this team WILL NOT SEE ANOTHER WS

  6. Well, I guess I am the bad guy again for calling Roberts Dummy again. Why is he not playing Verdugo? Verdugo is hitting .429 against leftys. That should be plenty to get Taylor out of the lineup. Afterall, he is hitting a buck 61 overall. He should not be in the lineup at all. Dummy put Verdugo in to pinch hit last night and he got a hit. How stupid is Dummy? He is in idiot.

  7. Well,

    Dodgers stick with the exact same, lifeless lefty lineup as last night. They get two free passes from Hamels, and cannot cash them in…. so what else is new.

    OMG, this is ridiculous.

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