Dodgers: Dave Roberts Speaks on Kenta Maeda’s Rotation Status

Another shaky outing leads to the tough questions.

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.

Past Relief

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.

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.


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  1. Gonsolin and May are going to be giving it All they’ve got their next times out. One or the other is going to make a showing that will make the decision on Maeda easier. Got a good feeling about both of these guys. I would not be surprised to see both have strong showings.

  2. Maeda’s stuff is only good for one or two innings , Perfect bullpen piece for the upcoming playoffs,especially against right handed batters. No longer a starter.

    • Exactly right, Andy and we saw a perfect example of this in Sunday’s game. Roberts will be crucified if in fact he insists on keeping Maeda as a starter and he again goes into the tank after 1 or 2 innings. Why Roberts and Freidman struggle with this decision concerning Maeda is beyond me.

      • Paul and PD Jr., Mae is starting to remind me of Darvish. For that reason alone, May and Gonsolin are becoming more important to our pitching staff. We need credible people who do not fizzle out after two innings. Maeda, I believe, has not one a game since mid-May. Thankfully, we have fire power and can compensate some of the time. But, I do feel, that Maeda’s usefulness is in the BP. Go Blue!!!!

  3. I think its time to make the move to the bullpen permanent. Next year we alreasy have Buehler, Kershaw, Urias, May and Gonsolin. There’s a good chance they resign either Ryu or Hill. Keep Maeda-son in the bullpen, restructure his contract if necessary.

  4. He gets flustered so quick after a mistake like a home run or yesterdays non strike call watch his face expression a little smile creeps up he looses focus he has been this way for a couple years

  5. The reason they keep Maeda in the rotation is because his contract is structured around being a starter with bonuses that only starting pitchers can reach. If he goes to the bullpen he won’t be able to get his bonuses unless they restructure his contract. Which I think they should do.

  6. Maeda does great when he locates his slider and change up well. he can even mix in his fastball IF he keeps it out of the middle of the zone, i.e., hit the corners. but that 3rd inning looked like Roberts told him to use his fastball more, but he did not locate it well. then he inexplicably threw a center cut hanger to Hoskins with bases loaded — ouch!

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