Kenta Maeda beat the Padres from all angles on Wednesday night, pitching 6.2 scoreless innings and driving in the only two runs of the game. In a much better performance than the last time he faced the Padres, Maeda gave only 3 hits and no walks with 12 strikeouts. And Maeda even gave himself his only run support with a two-run single as the Dodgers beat the Padres 2-0 and swept the two-game series.
Maeda looked sharp last night. His pitches had movement and he was able to locate them well. Maeda racked up 12 strikeouts through 6 2/3 innings before Dave Roberts decided it was time to go to the bullpen. Much to the crowd’s dismay, he made the trip out to the mound and removed Maeda.
Although he didn’t have a high pitch count, the numbers show that Maeda in the 7th inning usually means disaster, so Roberts decided to get him out of there early.
“That seventh inning I started to see the ball go wide, the slider wasn’t as sharp, missed a couple times with the fastball in the zone and it wasn’t quite getting there,” said Roberts. “I just felt it was a great outing and that was the time.”
Maeda disagreed with the decision, to remove him. “Even though I believe it is the starter’s duty to start an inning and end an inning, overall we were able to get the W tonight so I believe it was the right move,” said Maeda, who exited to a standing ovation, his favorite part of pitching in the Major Leagues.
If you think Maeda was throwing pinpoint strikes, you should have seen him with the bat. In the second inning, the Dodgers had men on second and third with two outs. Maeda hit a fly ball to shallow right field that landed between 3 Padres. With two outs, both runners were going on contact so they scored easily.
Once Maeda was removed, the Dodgers bullpen did their job and finished the game. Scott Alexander ended the seventh inning and let a runner on the eighth, then Pedro Báez cleaned up the eighth inning before Kenley Jansen closed it out in the ninth.
The Dodgers have a travel day on Thursday as they head to Cincinnati for a three-game series against the Reds. Rich Hill will open the series and be opposed by Anthony DeSclafani. Hill is 0-1 this year with a 4.20 ERA. In his last start, he allowed a three-run homer in the first, then finished the night with 4 scoreless innings. DeSclafani is 2-1 this year with a 4.17 ERA. The first game of the series will begin at 4:10 pm on Friday.