Maeda, Offense Take LA’s Win Streak To 9

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Kenta Maeda pitched seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits and one walk while striking out six. Chris Taylor started the scoring with an RBI double and Cody Bellinger hit a solo home run. Yasiel Puig added an insurance run when he stole third base and scored on a throwing error by Braves’ catcher Tyler Flowers.

 FINAL
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 Braves

“We are just focused on winning the games each and every day,” Chris Taylor said. “We are not worrying about tomorrow or yesterday as we are preparing for the task at hand. We have a good group in here and a really deep team.”

Kenta Maeda played a big part in helping the Dodgers extend their Major League-best record to 75-31. Maeda said that he feels pressure now that the Dodgers have acquired another Japanese pitcher, Yu Darvish.

“Yes, I do feel the pressure, and that is the reality right now as we have a lot of good pitchers who are producing,” Maeda said. “Darvish is someone that I admire very much and one of the top starting pitchers in Japan and here obviously.”

Maeda put his struggles behind him and left any worries he had about where he would fit in the rotation behind him. He looked like the Maeda of last year. He was attacking the zone and getting ahead in the count against almost every batter. His stat line shows just how dominant he was: seven innings pitched, zero runs allowed, two hits, one walk, six strikeouts.

Maeda is not the only person who helped the Dodgers get their ninth straight win. The Dodgers offense provided just enough runs to get another victory for the Blue Crew. The Dodgers spoiled the Major League Debut of Lucas Sims, but not nearly as badly as other pitchers’ MLB-debuts. In fact, despite getting the loss, Sims pitched a quality start, throwing six innings of three-run ball. He struck out three batters and didn’t walk anybody.

Chris Taylor started the scoring in the third inning with Yasiel Puig at second base. Sims hung a slider and Taylor drove it down the left field line. It rolled to the wall and Puig jogged home to score the first run for the Dodgers. Taylor reached second base easily and the Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

Cody Bellinger, who seems to always want in on the action, added another run for the Dodgers in the fourth inning. With a 2-2- count, Sims threw a fastball right where Bellinger likes it. Of course, a slugger like Bellinger will not take that pitch. He got the barrel on the ball and drove the ball into the Braves’ bullpen behind right-center field. The ball traveled 416 feet and hit the wall on the back of the bullpen. Bellinger’s 29th home run of the year gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.

In the fifth inning, Puig added the final run that the Dodgers would score in the game. He singled to lead off the inning, then advanced to second on Maeda’s sacrifice bunt. Then, with Taylor at the plate, Puig took off for third base. He got a good jump and even if Tyler Flowers had made a good throw, he most likely would have been safe. Flowers’ throw, however, sailed into left field and allowed Puig to jog home and extend the Dodgers’ lead to 3-0.

The Dodgers did not score any more runs after the fifth inning but they allowed the Braves to score two runs. Josh Ravin entered in the eighth inning to preserve the shutout that Maeda had pitched and let’s just say that he failed his job. Ravin walked the first batter he faced, then hung a breaking ball against Johan Camargo. The Braves were hungry for some runs, so Camargo wasted no time in hitting that ball over the right-center field wall. All of the sudden, the Braves were within a run of the Dodgers.

The Dodgers stayed calm and turned to their bullpen, bringing in newly acquired Tony Watson. He allowed a hit but no runs, keeping the Braves down by a run. Kenley Jansen came in to pitch the ninth inning and Braves fans began to leave the stadium. Jansen struck out the side and the Dodgers extended their winning streak to nine games.

Keys To The Game:

Puig’s Stolen Base:

In the fifth inning, Yasiel Puig figured out how to score a run for the Dodgers, and it proved to be the difference in the game. After reaching first on a single and advancing to second on a bunt, Puig decided it was time to steal third base. He got a terrific jump and forced Braves’ catcher Tyler Flowers to rush his throw. Flowers showed off his strength but not his accuracy, as the throw sailed into center field. Puig trotted home and gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

“Yasiel plays with a lot of energy and swings the bat well,” Roberts said. “He had a couple nice hits with the double and a single. But the stolen base seemed to be the difference in the game.”

Player Of The Game:

This time, it was hard to decide who the player of the game was. My options were Kenta Maeda, Cody Bellinger, and Yasiel Puig. I decided that I would call Kenta Maeda the player of the game. If you think it was someone else, comment at the bottom of the page and let me know why. My reason for picking Maeda is fairly simple. Maeda threw seven shutout innings, giving both the bullpen and the offense a bit of a break. He gave the bullpen a break because they only had to finish two innings instead of three or four. He gave the offense a break because when a pitcher allows fewer runs, the offense has to score fewer runs.

Up Next:

Brock Stewart will take the mound for the Dodgers and Julio Teheran will pitch for the Braves. Stewart faced Atlanta on July 20, pitching two scoreless innings in relief. He pitched 3.2 innings and allowed five unearned runs in a start against the Twins on Saturday. Teheran will be seeking his first win since the All-Star break. The game will start at 4:35 pm PT and be televised on SportsNet LA.

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