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Kenta Maeda Should Be Moved to Relief Role in the Dodgers Bullpen

Kenta Maeda starts in the finale against the Padres, and struggles again.



Another shaky start from Kenta Maeda set Dodgers Nation ablaze.

Maeda’s season trajectory should alert Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to bring Maeda in as a relief pitcher, and here is why:

Before the All-Star break, Maeda had a record of 7-5 to go along with an ERA of 3.76 in 17 starts. While he allowed 71 hits and 14 HRs, he also struck out 94 batters in 95.2 innings pitched.

However, since the All-Star break, Maeda has a record of 0-3 in 6 games (5 starts), giving up 20 hits, 16 earned runs and 4 HRs for an ERA of 5.09. Impressively, he’s struck out 28 batters in 19.2 innings pitched.

To put this into perspective, as a starter, Maeda has given up 57 runs, 91 hits, 18 HRs, 54 RBI’s, and he’s struck out 120 batters. He’s pitched in relief once this season, facing only 3 batters, but striking out 2 of the 3 batters.

Maeda to the Bullpen?

For what it’s worth, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says Maeda’s spot in the rotation is secure for now, but in the grand scheme of the season, that shouldn’t be the case.

In the playoffs, the Dodgers can’t afford to use Maeda as a starting pitcher. Moreover, he wouldn’t have a starting spot as the team usually runs with a 4-man rotation in October. But beyond that, Maeda does not pitch well on the road — he has an ERA of 5.66 in 12 starts. He pitches better at home but remains inconsistent, and the Dodgers can’t afford taking risks come playoff time. Not this time.

It’s better for Maeda to start to serve as a relief pitcher so he can build confidence in the role before October. In addition to that, the Dodgers will help aid a season-long weakness by adding a sometimes dominating force to pitch alongside Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, and Pedro Baez.

Written by Levon Satamian

My name is Levon Satamian. I am currently attending Cal State Northridge, and majoring in Broadcast Journalism.

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  1. 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.

    • The pitcher who is out of options as I understand it is Garcia and HE is the one to be a DFA candidate. I am growing really tired of seeing Yimi come into the game and immediately serve up another HR time and time again…enough of his act already!!!!!

      • AZUL, I feel the same way you do. It was just a matter of time before Maeda would falter, and Yimi would surrender a dinger. IMHO, Maeda’s role should be in the BP, long or short relief depending on the specific situation. Max Muncy saved Maeda’s bacon last night, but that is not going to happen as the competition gets more fierce. Yimi’s ticket out of LA is being printed as I write this. I would not trust him in any situation – “high” or “low” leverage. If May can assume the role of a #4 starter, and with Urias, Hill, and Maeda in the BP, we might just make it. Stripling can go where the FO feels he would be the most good. Go Blue!!!!

  2. He’s a quality pitcher but needs to go to the pen where he should thrive. Freidman should restructure his contract bonuses to reflect his role in relief.

  3. I concur that Maeda should consider the BP as the most likely spot in which to succeed. he could not even get out of the 3rd inning and ONCE AGAIN as I often predict he serves up the big one to put Dodgers in a hole.

    • Hey Paul!
      Maeda has struggled all season long that’s obvious.
      But in fairness to him, in that third inning Sunday……prior to Hosmer hitting that grand slam and lost in the box score……..two batters before Hosmer actually, there were two outs recorded and he (Maeda) then struck out Gracia but the ump squeezed him. When the ump called the third strike looking a ball, Maeda then ended up walking Garcia. This led to Macahado coming to the plate and he had a base hit up the middle to load the bases. Then Hosmer got a changeup that hung in the middle of the plate and he crushed it out of the park. IMO Machado and Hosmer never should have batted that inning………Garcia was the third out and the umpire (Jerry Meals) screwed Maeda. Just a little FYI.

  4. Come playoff time, Maeda will move to the bullpen, but right now the Dodgers are thin at starting pitchers. Gonsolin and May are filling in for Ryu and Hill. Who is going to replace Maeda during the regular season?

    No reason to remove him from the rotation during the regular season unless he really falls apart. Like it or not, he is the best option at the moment

    • Actually from the stats it appears that he has already fallen apart when he can’t get out of the 3rd inning at home. I do believe his bonus or other financial incentives should be restructured to reflect a relief role, say for holds, or maybe occasionally, saves. Having to burn up an already suspect bullpen every time he pitches is not the answer.Stripling hasn’t done that great ( too inconsistent), but he should be ready to rejoin the rotation soon and should be an improvement over Maeda.

      On another subject I agree with DFA’ing Yimi ‘home run’ Garcia. Too bad we couldn’t pick up at least one more bullpen arm. Floro is not the answer, Ferguson before his recent demotion wasn’t and Alexander, even before the injury, wasn’t. Kenley has also been inconsistent. Not sure about Chargois either. I’d hate to see us blow another WS because of the bullpen. Unacceptable. We need to have at least a couple reliable 2 inning guys and for Kenley to get his act together and stop second guessing all his catchers.

      • I generally agree.

        My question is whether Maeda can handle the stress of bullpen work. He seems to meltdown under pressure. That’s a problem for bullpen work.

        Kenley (32 seconds between pitches & not too smart) Jansen has become an awkward, arrogant, clown who refuses to heed the smarts of his catcher and insists in throwing a cutter which does very little cutting.

  5. I felt the same way you did, but at the same time Maeda needs to be able to pitch around that and not let bad calls get to him. It’s clear that the umps don’t always get the calls right and Maeda has a tendency to get into some trouble when calls don’t go his way. I still believe he is an important part of the Dodgers pitching staff though and we will need him to win it all and get us that parade we’ve been waiting for.

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