Maeda Takes The Hill in Pivotal Game 5

Well yesterday was a disaster for the Dodgers. Dodgers need to get over the blown call with Adrian Gonzalez at home. Today is a new day it’s game 5 of the NLCS with series tied 2-2. In all sports, when a series is tied 2-2 usually the winner of game 5 takes the series. The Cubs have the next two at home and although all the pressure will be on the Cubs in those games, it would be a tall task to win two in a row on the road.

So the importance of this game can’t be overstated. The Dodgers will have to deal with left-hander Jon Lester who is 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in this postseason. In fourteen  innings this postseason he has only given up one run. The Dodgers will have their hands full and you can bet they will have a right handed line-up. Kenta Maeda will go for the Dodgers. He is 0-1 this postseason with a 9.00 ERA. Maeda hasn’t pitched well towards the end of the season. We will see if he can compete because the Cubs bats are waking up. I’m going to guess the bullpen will make an early appearance.

Game time 508pm FSN 1

Dodgers Lineup:

Hernández 2B

Turner 3B

Seager SS

Ruiz C

Kendrick LF

González 1B

Puig RF

Pederson CF

Maeda P

Adrian Gonzalez drops to the sixth spot probably to add some punch to the bottom of the lineup. Corey Seager needs to provide some thunder today. How has this Dodgers lineup done against Lester.

BATTER AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Andre Ethier 4 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000
Adrian Gonzalez 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 .125 .125 .125 .250
Yasmani Grandal 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 .200 .200 .400 .600
Enrique Hernandez 12 3 0 1 1 3 0 4 .250 .250 .667 .917
Howie Kendrick 31 7 4 0 0 5 2 5 .226 .273 .355 .628
Joc Pederson 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Yasiel Puig 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .333 .500 .333 .833
Josh Reddick 10 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 .200 .200 .200 .400
Carlos Ruiz 14 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 .000 .125 .000 .125
Corey Seager 6 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 .167 .286 .167 .452
Trayce Thompson 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .667 1.000
Justin Turner 11 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 .000 .083 .000 .083
Chase Utley 12 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 .167 .167 .167 .333
Scott Van Slyke 3 2 1 0 0 0 2 0 .667 .800 1.000 1.800
Totals 125 23 7 1 1 10 8 32 .184 .239 .280 .519

Yasiel Puig has had the most success against Lester. The Dodgers might hinge on Puig coming through. The Dodgers need to make Lester work and take pitches. Lester doesn’t usually walk anyone and he will try to get you out with his curveball. He likes to use his sinker to get doubleplays. The Dodgers might need to bunt and steal bases to get some traffic on Lester. Lester wasn’t sharp in game 1 and the Dodgers take advantage if he isn’t sharp today. I have a feeling Joc Pederson might contribute at the bottom of the lineup.

Cubs Lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist LF

Baez 2B

Heyward RF

Russell SS

Ross C

Lester P

So Mr. Ross will be catching for Lester. This was Maeda’s line in game 1 of the series.

vs. ChC 4.0 4 3 3 3 2 1.75 6.75

Baez and Bryant got doubles off Maeda and also collected RBI’s.  The key for Maeda is get ahead early and keep his pitch count down. He needs to avoid walking hitters. He doesn’t really strike out hitters so the defense behind him today has to be on point.  Maeda cannot hang the breaking ball to these Cubs hitters. He needs to control his pitches. The thing he doe shave going for him is the element of surprise. You never know what he is going to throw.  He has five pitches he uses and he wants to show a solid outing tonight.

James Moya

James Moya

Hi I’m James Moya. I am an avid Dodgers fan. I graduated Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelors in Communications. I used to freelance at the San Bernardino Sun. I’m excited about this opportunity to write for LA Dodger Report to gain experience. I’m a straight shooter on my opinions and I hope to get some good conversations going. My dream has always been to report on the Dodgers because Baseball is the National Past-time. I hope you enjoy the ride with me.

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78 thoughts on “Maeda Takes The Hill in Pivotal Game 5

    1. Mark

      They said that Maeda has had problems with flying open, and that is why he hasn’t been that good.

      Does that make sense?

  1. Cubs hit lefties about as well as we do. This is a must game for them, more important than for us. I don’t think they can beat either Kershaw or Hill. So if they lose tonite, you can just about take it to the bank.

  2. all that’s missing is Wilmer Difo and you could cast it as Platoon II.

    It’s a RH lineup going against a LH starter. I think numbers had a lot to do with it.

        1. Look at the numbers. Hernandez. What do you see?

          Ruiz may be a hunch I guess. But we know the Dodgers are a left/right matchup organization.

        2. Scott

          I have a problem with Howie playing leftfield, and Kike playing second.

          Howie doesn’t have a good enough arm to play left, and he isn’t able to cover as much ground as Kike in leftfield.

          And in the last two games, after a half inning, Roberts has moved Kike into left, and put Howie at second.

          Let’s hope Kike makes everyone eat a big helping of crow, because if we win, because Kike gets a big hit, I think we all, wouldn’t mind eating some crow.

    1. Yup. And they are willing to sacrifice a little defense (Kike at 2B) for that advantage. Let’s hope it works tonight.

  3. We all want a 7 game series, right?

    You always want 7 games. As a kid out in the back yard, you envision winning the 7th game with walk off heroics. It’s never a Game 6 fantasy.

  4. For two days I could see this coming —

    Maeda tonight — and getting beat. He is not for the post season against a team like the Cubs.

    Then it takes Clayton and Hill on the top of their game with no mistakes and the Dodgers hitting, and not waiting till the 8th or 9th innings against you know who.

    First question is — can Maeda get out of the first inning?

  5. Steal the damn base. Cripes you have Turner and Seager coming up take the damn base instead of leaving it up to Kendrick.

  6. Shows why this team needs to make a fix next season with a position player that can steal bases and be a key player on the field and at the plate. I do not think Toles is that player — probably take a boat load of players to trade for the right player.

      1. I think he only got a one year contract, but he is over thirty.

        And I don’t see this front office signing him, if you meant that.

  7. LOL I knew Howie would score before it came up on this stream. My brother told me on the phone so this stream is obviously a couple minutes delayed.

    1. Dodgerpatch

      How does a veteran pitcher, make this same mistake, twice in one week?

      His first mistake cost us a game, and this second one might also cost us agame.

      And in the first game, he threw that hanger twice in a row!

  8. Kike’ – who I Iiked a lot last year, would not have been on my playoff roster
    this time. The Los Angeles Gutless Chicken dance he did in the 1st inning,
    by managerial fiat or his own choices, and his failure to take the base the
    Cubs were donating to charity, cost a run on Corey’s base hit, and the
    following failure to steal third (those speedsters Turner and Kendricks
    showed the way later) cost the same run on Chooch’s fly ball.

    Memo to Buck and Smoltz (and Maddon): if your catcher lifts a ball into
    the strike zone, even he knew it wasn’t a strike….

    Joc, who has done a lot better with the bat than I ever thought he would,
    yet still has about half of the twenty worst at-bats I’ve seen this season,
    contributed to Post-Season Circus stuff with that awful play on Bryant’s
    ball. It’s one more proof for me that he’s not a reliable champ center-
    fielder (any more than Yasmani is a catcher), especially going straight back
    to the wall.

    FAZ depth: none at starting pitching after two years and a gazillion dollars
    and almost that many moves. None on the right side of the bench. None, even
    more importantly, at the top of the lineup, where the D’s have failed in the
    playoffs for most of the last decade. Depth? My sweet patootie….

    1. Well said dud.

      Why aren’t we stealing? I could steal off Lester. He NEVER throws to first. Get a 20′ lead and go in first movement!

      Nice bunt Antny.

    1. Hawkeye

      I rather see Toles hit, then every outfielder playing right now.

      Instead of putting Kike in the lead off position, they should have had Toles lead off, because he is actually fast, and he can actually hit.

      1. Me too. I don’t get sitting him against Lester. He wouldn’t stand there with a 15 ft lead and not take the base either.

      2. And Mark if Kike doesn’t get a hit in this next inning, guess what, he will be hitting zero just like Culberson, but in more at bats!

          1. Mark
            You know Kike has had more at bats, then Culberson.

            It is pure desperation to think Kike who didn’t hit above 190 all year, against both lefties and Righties, will suddenly get a big hit against a pitcher, who might be the Cy Young winner this year!

  9. I think you guys don’t understand the lefty righty thing that computers insist on. Toles is not going to lead off against a dominant left hand starter. Toles hits .233 against left handers. LHers hit .200 against Lester. Kiké had a .900 OPS against Lester. We are a saber team now. EVERYTHING is about the %’s. It’s just how it is. For better or for worse, we are married to algorithms.

  10. It’s seemingly clear instructions had been put to only distract Lesater with fake attempts and not really steal because the players KNOW they could. Howie even proved it. I’m not certain Blanton insisted on TOO MANY sliders or if someone else was calling for them. In both cases it’s hard to imagine Roberts even allowing such. This game wasn’t won by the Cubs, it was given to them.

    1. Thanks, Quas, for saving me a paragraph or two.

      The Chicken Dancers outsmarted themselves.
      (Clue – if organizationally, you are lousy bunters, the
      “threat” of the bunt is pretty mild. The “threat” of
      the stolen base without actually stealing looks like fourth-rate
      collective out-thinking). John Smoltz made the point over and over…

      As for the sliders: Grandal shoulda recognized how the moment
      the other night had taken the bite outta Joe’s. (I loved DR’s
      guts on that move; not the depth of his thought.) Joe hasn’t been
      a Big Moment reliever long enough to put him in that tough,
      tough situation. The first two, were not good just because he
      managed to get away with them, with help from the struggling,
      cold-off-the-bench Montero. Showing him another after the
      first two flatliners was asking for it. Bad managing, bad pitching-
      coach oversight, bad catching – in whatever combo.
      Tonight, I do not bring him into a “game” situation with anyone
      who can hit it out – and I sure don’t call for the slider he is
      too amped up to get to slide. That it is his best pitch is why I
      don’t even have him in there…. Dave got lotsa credits for his
      guts with Montero, even though he lost the gamble and the
      game, and possibly the series by getting a little too full of
      himself (as the best managers have always done at this time
      of year:-). But he gets lotsa debits for the repeat tonite.
      DR helped lose this series, if indeed it is lost.

      1. Dud dew

        Shouldn’t a verteran major league pitcher, know when his slider is not working?

        And shouldn’t a major league pitcher, after giving up two HRs already in this series, make sure his pitch does what it is suppose to do.

  11. What a terrible performance with so much on the line.

    How many of our players can walk away tonight satisfied with their performance? Who actually performed under the brightest lights of all?

    1. This game changed, after Blanton gave up his third HR this week.

      It is hard to come back from that!

      And then Baez turned it into a laugher, like only he can do!

  12. I think having the players doing that stuff, especially since they didn’t steal and take advantage of there lead.

    Didn’t get Lester off his game, it got our players off there game.

    And Toles is now hitting 500 in this series.

    And he got another hit tonight, which was a double, when he batted for Kike tonight!

    And not all of Toles hits in this series, have been off only righties either.

    I think Toles had a better chance to hit Lester then Kike, and he is also the fastest player, on this team.

    Like I said above, it is pure desperation to think Kike is suddenly going to hit a pitcher, that might be the Cy Young this year, after hitting so poorly all year.

          1. Boxout

            I was lucky because I always looked like the underdog, because I was so small.

            But Kershaw has all of those post season things to think about.

            And it looks like it is going to have to be Kershaw and Kenley, after Blanton’s poor performances, in the last week.

  13. Batting cleanup, and catching, is a man who has faced Lester
    sixteen times previously, and has the impressive total
    (depth, depth, depth) of zero hits, As in none. Nada.
    Zip. Air. Gossamer. Rumors. But Chooch did manage to
    not strike out ten of those times.

    And y’know what? Given the resources DR has at his disposal
    to compete for the top prize against the port guys, I don’t think
    it was an awful choice.
    And as previously noted, if Kike had stopped the dancing long
    enough to actually contribute, and stolen the base the Cubs
    were gifting him (either second OR third), Corey or Chooch
    woulda had a hard-to-come-by-RBI, tying the game and putting
    more pressure on the Wee Bears.

    1. Dud dew

      I think Chooch has very patient at bats.

      And that is something this team needs.

      And that is why I was suprised, that Barnes was taken off this roster.

      Barnes had even more worth to me, then Kike did.

      Because having Barnes on this roster, allowed Chooch to have more at bats.

      And Chooch has had two big hits, in the post season, in the few at bats, he has had in the post season.

      And not only did he put the ball in play, and hit a flyball to the outfield today, he hit a ball off the wall, that looked like it was going to be a HR tonight.

  14. You people are overthinking this. Turn on the computer, input the data, computer makes out lineup. Easy peasy. Two times through the lineup, you will have some new data with which to implement matchup changes.

    Beginning in the 4th inning, after your starter is gone, you start the matchups using the criteria your algorithms have dictated. This is who the Dodgers are. They have been building to this for two years. You worship at the altar of FAZ you can only expect more of the same or you will be kidding yourselves. The problem as I see it is that Cubs have a two year head start on doing the same damn thing the Dodgers are doing. This is the year it has come together for them. This is their 2018.

    I like Smoltz. The guy is spot on. And, he completely understands what Roberts and the Dodgers are up against.

    We have Kershaw, hopefully for 7 and Jansen for 2. If the team can hit with them, I like our chances for a Game 7. The odds are against us because the Cubs are a better team. But, yes, I do believe in miracles.

  15. I’d feel better if it wasn’t Miguel Montero and Addison Russell beating Blanton and this team with huge home runs. I don’t know if Blanton is feeling the moment and his slider is getting inconsistent, but his other two were pretty good. You have to go with Blanton, though, and he does have to keep throwing his slider. That’s what worked for him the last couple of years. It’s his best pitch. You don’t ditch it now.

    Does Kike just not have good speed or a good jump when stealing? If you’re taking that big of a lead just to play some juvenile game to get in Lester’s head, you might as well just steal it. He would have scored had done so.

    I’m not quite sure why you don’t have Maeda just pitch to Lester in that situation, either. Who was that guy who relieved him, again? ….some guy whose name I can’t even remember with a 4.6 something ERA pitching to Bryant? GET HIM OUTTA THERE NOW!!

    Baez…the new Hatcher.

    The Cubs offense is finding its rhythm. The sleeping giant is awake. oops. Oh well.

    1. In defense of Blanton: He’s been excellent this year. Perhaps he’s been overworked. He was in 70 games(80 innings) during the regular season + another 5 innings in the PS vs Washington(1 hit; no runs). He hasn’t pitched this many innings since 2013. The guy is toast, give him a break.
      I’m all for Toles leading off the next two games. I love Utley but he hasn’t done much.
      The announcers on FS1 last night kept saying the Dodger runners have to take what is being offered to them. Lester hasn’t thrown over to 1st base since early last year and I think it was Joc who had almost a 20ft lead off 1st one time.
      Maybe we wouldn’t have won last night but who knows if we got i to Lester’s head throughout the WHOLE game by running perhaps the score would’ve been different in our favor.
      Finally: Baez. I don’t care if he does throw 99mph. It’s time for him to move on to another team and let him put their fielders to sleep.

  16. Lots of complaints. Justified. But when you complain about Kike not stealing, or Blanton continuing to throw his hanging slider, would you also consider that they are just following orders? That Roberts and/or FAZ have choreographed each players actions to that degree, as determined by stats. There are no more ‘Dodgers’, there are only anonymous players dancing a choreographed ballet by FAZ, the sports world Baryshnikov. I think Badger has it spot on.

    1. Badger spot on? That won’t win you any points with this crowd Wonder.

      In the end we needed 9 runs to beat the favored Cubs, on our home field, in a pivotal game. Though Kiké shoulda run, it wasn’t going to be enough, just like AGon being called out didn’t mean spit in the final boxscore. We need every break. That can work in one game, but it won’t work in a 7 game series.

    2. Well, if you’re really that cynical; if you think there is some almighty FAZ hiding behind some curtain pulling all the strings, and the game is merely some facade of individual agency and faux athletic excellence, then why bother watching? What a depressing way to think….about life in general!

      I’m sure there is a pretty close collaboration and discussion about strategy among the FO, the manager and the players. They work together with their respective roles and they’re all on the same page and know what to do in a general sense. That is far cry from Roberts and the players being these mindless automatons who don’t adjust their jockstraps with direct orders from some sinister, all controlling New World Baseball Order, the baseball equivalent of the Bilderberg. That’s just silly.

      The world really doesn’t work that way.

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