On Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, Kenta Maeda was cruising for the Dodgers. That is until he wasn’t. After holding the Padre offense scoreless through the first 2 innings, chipping in 2 strikeouts, things unraveled quickly in the third inning.
A double, and back to back singles — one after a tough call by the home plate umpire — helped set the stage for a grand slam off the bat of Eric Hosmer and ultimately chased Maeda from the game.
Moreover, it lead to a big question: Should he remain in the Dodgers starting rotation?
Manager Dave Roberts had this to say of Maeda’s outing on Sunday.
If you look at the first couple innings they were sitting soft and he was beating them with the fastball. And so it’s tough — it’s hard — when you become predictable. That conviction at times, to throw your fastball when they have a tendency to sit soft, you’ve got to believe it.
If you go to the well too many times that’s what can happen.
So will he remain in the rotation? Roberts with the answer.
Is Kenta Maeda’s rotation spot in jeopardy?
Dave Roberts: “No, no, he’s fine.”
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) August 5, 2019
As J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group noted in this piece, last season the team sent Maeda to the bullpen in part to prepare for a relief role come October. But his results weren’t helping the situation. After the move, he continued to struggle but eventually became one of the team’s top right-handed options out of the bullpen. For better or worse.
During the 2017 postseason, Maeda was a dominant force in relief, compiling an ERA of 0.84 in 9 appearances and 10.2 innings pitched. He struck out 10 batters and walked only 2
Knocking on the Door
Tony Gonsolin will be taking the spot of injured ace Hyun-Jin Ryu on Monday, but Ryu is only expected to miss the single start. If Gonsolin comes through with a positive outing, it further makes Doc Roberts’ job harder.
As we’ve seen recently, this team appears to struggle with the tough decisions, and none were more apparent than the case with Austin Barnes.
While Roberts says that Maeda’s spot in the rotation is secure, the leash is likely nearing its end.