Without his best command, Maeda still makes another good impression
By Cary Osborne
Even though Jose Bautista took Kenta Maeda deep in the sixth inning for a two-run home run in the Dodgers’ 5-2 loss in Toronto, you can check this one off as another challenge met by Kenta Maeda.
The Dodgers purposely moved Maeda back in the rotation to face this right-handed heavy Toronto lineup and the rookie pitcher, going on seven-days rest, didn’t surrender a hit to a right-hander until Bautista’s home run. In fact, he gave up just one hit in the game to that point, which was erased by Yasiel Puig’s dart to second base to throw out Darwin Barney trying to stretch a single into a double in the third inning.
Maeda was done after that sixth inning — the 37th inning he has started and completed this season. Team have scored against him in only 33 of those innings or 89.2 percent of the time.
By comparison, he’s slightly better percentage-wise than Clayton Kershaw at putting zeroes on the scoreboard thus far in 2016.
Kershaw has kept teams off the board in 40 of 46 completed innings (87.0 percent).
Though he wasn’t as sharp, throwing a season low 57.8 pitches for strikes and walking a season-high four batters, Maeda kept the Dodgers in the game without his best stuff.
And by going six innings, Maeda is the 15th starting pitcher since 2006, according to Baseball Reference, to start his career with at least six, six-inning outings. Hyun-Jin Ryu started 2013 with eight and John Ely had seven in 2010.