In the first two starts of his big league career, Kenta Maeda faced the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks. The right-hander for the Los Angeles Dodgers gave up zero runs in his 12 innings of work. But now he will face much stiffer, and much meaner, competition during his third start.
That competition will come in the form of hated rivals, San Francisco. The Giants and Dodgers have played six games so far this season, with the Giants taking four of the six, including last night’s game. It’s up to Maeda to help the Dodgers win the series, and in the process he’ll be baptized into the rivalry.
After four days of observing the Dodgers and Giants go at it last week in the Bay Area, Maeda had one simple takeaway: “In Japan there is not that much of an intensity between two teams,” the eight-year Hiroshima player said through his interpreter, Will Ireton.
In essence, as Maeda puts it, everyone is nicer in Japan. The sheer ferocity between the two sides creates one of the most storied rivalries in sports history. While some prefer the eastern rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, no rivalry in sports has the raw history of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
As he steps foot on the mound for the third time this season, Maeda must prepare for all things that might be coming his way. He’ll be introduced to an unreal energy that he’s rarely seen, and keeping his composure throughout the game will be an unenviable task but if there’s someone who can do it, it’s the lovable Maeda.