When Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced that Kenta Maeda had been moved to the bullpen he called the change in role temporary. But in that same breath, Roberts could not definitively say when the right-hander would return to the rotation.
Just like with Hyun-Jin Ryu, that comes after one relief appearance; a four-inning save, no less. However, unlike with Ryu, it does not appear Maeda’s start on Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds signals his regaining a spot in the rotation.
With the Dodgers in the midst of playing 20 games in 20 days, a stretch that runs through July 2, a decision was made to provide the regular starters with an additional day of rest.
Nonetheless, Maeda intends to carry forth with a strategy he developed while pitching in relief, per Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“Attacking the strike zone, constantly being on the aggressive side really helped,” Maeda said. “I think that’s what I’m going to plan to do. As a starter, I was concerned about pitch counts. But this time, I’m just going to attack.”
One of Maeda’s downfalls this season has been a tendency to become too fine with pitches whenever getting two strikes on a batter. The end result has been several foul balls, if not hits, a rising pitch count and thus, short outings.
On the season, the 29-year-old is 4-3 with a 4.95 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 11 games (10 starts). Maeda has completed five innings or less in eight starts, and owns a 10.80 ERA in the first inning.
Despite the lack of length and struggles, the Dodgers are 7-3 in Maeda’s starts.