Dodgers News: Kenta Maeda Critical Of Execution In NLCS Game 1 Start
Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Much like the Los Angeles Dodgers’ matchup with the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series, Game 1 of the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs came down to the bullpens as neither starter earned a decision.

Kenta Maeda lasted just four innings, as he gave up four hits and three runs while striking out two and walking three. His struggles were a combination of bad luck and poor execution as the Cubs tallied several hits with two strikes.

Maeda did settle in to throw consecutive scoreless innings in the third and fourth, but was pinch-hit for with the Dodgers looking to overcome their deficit.

“I understand that I got pulled out after the fourth inning, despite pitching well in the third and fourth inning,” Maeda said through his interpreter after the Dodgers dropped Game 1.

“It’s a game that we can’t lose and being behind three runs, it just turned out so that I was up, the pitcher’s spot was up, so the team had to prioritize on the hitters.”

Stretching back to the regular season, the Game 1 start was the fourth straight that Maeda has struggled in.

“The last two outings in the regular season I don’t think too deeply into it, since, especially since we clinched the season,” he explained. “The reason why I haven’t been doing well the last two games, it’s not really because of mechanics per se, it’s just I’m not executing my game plan, and that’s what I have to do.”

Maeda, who recently said he was motivated by fellow starters Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill for their NLDS performances, presumably may get another opportunity to bounce back in this series if it extends beyond a Game 4.