He’s only made three starts so far for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but right-hander Kenta Maeda has already taken baseball by storm with his dazzling slider, expressive personality, and wonderful results. However, he now gets to face his biggest challenge yet. It’s not an opposing team, but rather an opposing stadium that he’s about to deal with.
Maeda has allowed just one earned run in 19 innings so far this season, and he’s done so by getting a ton of weak contact and easy outs. He paints the outside of the plate with his slider and off-speed stuff in order to keep hitters off-balance and get them out in front. It’s paid off in a major way. But now that Coors Field looms, he might need to change his approach. Or does he?
“I was told that it is very similar to Arizona and the balls fly a lot more than the usual fields, but what I am planning to do is to pitch the way that I do and just locate pitches,” Maeda said.
In a lot of ways, this makes a ton of sense. Maeda has never pitched in Arizona, either, but the fact remains that you can’t make adjustments to what is happening on the field or in the ballpark until, well, they actually happen. No use to change your style of pitching before you even get out there in a new setting. It’s counterproductive, and Maeda knows that.
Due to the power alleys in Coors Field, Maeda could be fine just painting the outside of the plate and trying to keep the ball in the big part of the ballpark.
With the new fence in right field, perhaps he doesn’t give up a home run there. Still, the park is dangerous. The Rockies are dangerous. It’ll be very interesting to see how Maeda handles all of it.