Another shaky start from Kenta Maeda set Dodgers Nation ablaze.
Where does Kenta Maeda fit best on the Dodgers in you eyes?
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) August 5, 2019
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?
This has to likely be Maeda's last start this season. Or close to it. Gotta get him ready for 'pen work in October anyway. He can excel as a 2 inning pitcher.
— Clint Pasillas (FRG) (@realFRG) August 4, 2019
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.