Are you ready for Kenta Maeda’s Major League debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers? Well, you better get ready! The Dodgers and San Diego Padres are wrapping up their three-game season-opening series tonight in San Diego, and Maeda will be on the mound. He’s hoping to continue the success of the prior two nights.
In Game 1, Los Angeles routed San Diego 15-0, which stands as the largest opening day shutout in Major League history. In Game 2, another shutout happened as the Dodgers won 3-0 behind the strength of Scott Kazmir and the bullpen. Today, it’s Maeda’s turn. The lineup will be as follows.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 6, 2016
In the famous words of Mr. Scully, “IT’S TIME FOR DODGER BASEBALL!”
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Chase Utley gets the game started with a leadoff triple on a ball smoked to right-center. Dives in head first! What a start! Corey Seager pops out to second for the first out, but Justin Turner then singles to right and it’s already 1-0 Blue Crew! Adrian Gonzalez then works a 9-pitch plate appearance that ends in a walk! Awesome job. First and second with one out now. Yasiel Puig then ropes a 3-1 pitch to right field, but right at Matt Kemp for the second out, but Turner moves up to third so there’s runners on the corners with two outs. Carl Crawford then has a great at-bat that sees him shoot a double down the left field line. Turner scores to make it 2-0, and now runners are on second and third with two outs. What a start, man. Joc Pederson starts out in an 0-2 hole, but he works it back to a 2-2 count and then singles up the middle to score two runs! 4-0! A.J. Ellis flies out to center field to end the half inning, and now we get to see Kenta Maeda!
After missing the strikezone on his first two pitches, Maeda works back to a 2-2 count before getting Jon Jay to ground out to second baseman Chase Utley. He then gets Spangenberg to pop out in foul territory to third base and gets Matt Kemp to fly out to the warning track in left field. A 1-2-3 first inning for the right-hander!
SECOND INNING: DODGERS LEAD 4-0
Maeda leads off the top of the second inning by going down swinging on a 2-2 pitch. Chase Utley then pops out in foul territory to Cashner. Corey Seager then grounds out to Cashner to end the top of the inning, and we head to the bottom frame with Los Angeles up 4-0.
Maeda begins the bottom of the second with his first Major League strikeout, which is Wil Myers. He got him looking. Solarte then reaches base on a single off of a bunt. Maeda gets off-balance on the throw to first base, and it sails over the head of Adrian Gonzalez at first. Solarte then gets to second base with one out on the throwing error. Derek Norris then grounds out to Justin Turner at third base for the second out. Alexei Ramirez then grounds out to second base to end the inning. We head to the third, 4-0 good guys.
THIRD INNING: DODGERS LEAD 4-0
Justin Turner goes down on strikes on a very questionable third strike call, but then Adrian Gonzalez walks on four pitches to get things rolling with one out. Puig then SMASHES a line drive to left field to give the Dodgers runners on first and second with one out. Carl Crawford has a lengthy at-bat but ends up striking out on a foul tip. Joc Pederson follows suit with a strikeout of his own.
Maeda gets Jabari Blash to strikeout swinging on a NASTY slider to start the frame. Maeda then gets Cashner to groundout meekly to third for the second out. A 1-2-3 inning for Maeda as he gets Jon Jay to roll over to Turner at third, and we go to the fourth!
FOURTH INNING: DODGERS LEAD 4-0
A.J. Ellis leads off with a groundout, but then KENTA MAEDA HITS A HOME RUN TO LEFT FIELD! KENTA MAEDA MAKES IT 5-0 DODGERS AND HE HIT THE FIRST HOME RUN OF THE SEASON FOR THE TEAM! OH MY GOD WHAT A SIGHT! Chase Utley then lines out to center and Corey Seager strikes out, but oh man what a showing by Maeda!
Maeda begins the bottom of the fourth by getting Spangenberg to groundout sharply back to the mound for the first out. Matt Kemp then pokes a slider into right field for San Diego’s second hit of the night. They have a man on with one out now. Wil Myers then singles to left field to put runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Solarte then grounds out to Adrian Gonzalez at first base, who then tags Solarte while keeping Kemp stuck at third base. Myers moves up to second. Runners on second and third with two outs now. Derek Norris is up. Fantastic play at first by Gonzalez keeps the shutout intact as he tosses the ball to Maeda who was covering first. We head to the fifth!
FIFTH INNING: DODGERS LEAD 5-0
Justin Turner goes down swinging to start the top of the frame, but Adrian Gonzalez then walks. He’s now 0-for-0 with 3 walks. Yasiel Puig then singles on a bouncing ball through the shortstop hole to put runners on first and second with one out. Crawford grounds out to second, and Puig does a FANTASTIC job to avoid getting tagged in order to not get doubled up. Throw goes to first, and there’s runners on second and third with two outs. Joc Pederson then goes down looking on strikes in an at-bat that he worked to a 3-2 count. End of the top of the fifth.
Ramirez grounds out to Turner at third base to start the bottom frame. Blash then grounds out to second, and Maeda gets pinch-hitter Travis Jankowski to strikeout swinging. 23 consecutive scoreless innings by the Dodgers pitching staff to start the season, it ties the 1974 Dodgers for the franchise record to start a single season.
SIXTH INNING: DODGERS LEAD 5-0
Ellis leads off the sixth with a fly out to left field, and in steps Kenta Maeda. He only musters a lineout to first base to become the second out in the frame. The Dodgers go in order here as Utley grounds out to shortstop. Dodgers can set the new franchise record for scoreless innings to start a season if they get through the sixth unblemished.
Maeda gives up a broken bat single to Jay to start the bottom half, and then induces what should have been a possible double play ball, but Utley drops the ball on the the throw from Seager. The Dodgers challenge the play saying that Utley tagged second base with the ball before the runner got in, and he did! That’s one out in the inning now. Runner on first. Kemp them laces a single up the middle to give San Diego runners on the corners with one out. The scoreless streak is in jeopardy now. Grounder to first base and Gonzalez comes home with the throw! Spangenberg was thrown out! But wait. Padres are challenging the call on the field. It does appear like the foot might have gotten in there. THE CALL IS UPHELD! NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE! TWO OUTS! Maeda then fans Solarte on a nasty pitch to end the sixth! 24 CONSECUTIVE SHUTOUT INNINGS TO START THE 2016 SEASON! A NEW FRANCHISE RECORD!
SEVENTH INNING: DODGERS LEAD 5-0
Corey Seager starts off the top of the seventh with a 7-pitch pop out to Solarte at third base. Turner then slaps a single into right field to put a man on first with one out for Gonzalez. Gonzalez grounds into the shift, and it’s a double play. IT’S TIME TO STRETCH!
Yimi Garcia is coming into the game here to preserve the lead. He promptly fans Derek Norris on a fastball. He then gets Ramirez to pop up right around the mound, and Turner snags it for the second out. Jabari Blash drives a ball to left field, and then it just dies shy of the warning track for the final out. 1-2-3 inning for Yimi!
EIGHTH INNING: DODGERS LEAD 5-0
Yasiel Puig leads off the top of the eighth, and he hits a SOLO HOME RUN TO LEFT-CENTER FIELD! 384 FEET! 6-0! Crawford follows Puig with a strikeout. Pederson then rolls one over and grounds out to first. Ellis then grounds out to short to end the half-inning, but not before Puig hits his first home run of the spring. He now is 3-for-4 on the night, and has two triples and a home run in the first three games. What a stud.
J.P. Howell comes in to pitch the eighth, and he promptly gets The Artist Formerly Known As B.J. Upton to groundout to first. Nice play by Chase Utley at second base to retire Jon Jay on a grounder for the second out. Spangenberg then grounds out to Utley to end the frame. 26 consecutive scoreless innings. My god, Dodgers. You good.
NINTH INNING: DODGERS LEAD 6-0
Kike Hernandez leads off the last frame, and he hammers a single to left field. Utley strikes out swinging for the first out, and Corey Seager steps in looking for his first hit of the night. Seager singles up the middle, and Kike goes first to third to put runners on the corners with one out! Great baserunning. Turner with a sac fly to right field, and it’s 7-0 Dodgers now! Aggressive baserunning helps tack on an insurance run. Those matter. Gonzalez then grounds out to first to end the inning, but they add a run. Three outs to go!
Joe Blanton on here to make his season debut. He strikes out Matt Kemp swinging. The ball gets away, but Ellis runs it down to throw out Kemp on a close play for the first out. Blanton then gets Myers to go down looking! One out to go! One out away from three consecutive shutout victories to start the season. Solarte flies out to left and the Dodgers win! They start the season off 3-0! What a start to the season. They join the 1963 St. Louis Cardinals as the only teams in Major League history to start the year with three shutouts. Amazing.
FINAL SCORE: DODGERS 7, PADRES 0