On Sunday the Los Angeles Dodgers were on the wrong side of a 3-0 shutout, courtesy of a strong outing by Miami Marlins right-hander Jose Urena.
In just his ninth start this season, Urena came up one out shy of throwing a complete game. He held the Dodgers to just four hits and had four strikeouts. Urena was perfect until allowing a two-out single to Joc Pederson in the fifth. Urena’s 8.2 innings pitched was the longest outing of his young career.
While he pitched well, so too did Kenta Maeda as he turned in another quality start on the road. Maeda allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits. The majority of the damage against him came on soft contact, and after he’d faced the minimum through three innings.
Although this is the stage when some players begin feeling taxed by the rigors of a 162-game season, Maeda gave an upbeat answer in regards to his health, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
“I feel good,” said Maeda (who leads the Dodgers in starts made and innings pitched) through his interpreter. “I don’t know if you’re going to believe me when I say this. But I do feel much better now than I did in April.”
In his first season in Major League Baseball the Japan native has exceeded expectations placed on him. Particularly when considering there were questions surrounding Maeda’s health, which led to his eight-year, $25 million contract being filled with incentives.
Maeda posted a 4-1 record with a 4.05 ERA and 1.16 WHIP during the month of August. What may be more impressive is the fact he’s succeeded away from Dodger Stadium. In his 14 road starts this season, Maeda is 8-4 with a 3.26 ERA and 0.99 WHIP.
Overall this season, the 28-year-old 14-9 with a 3.28 ERA, 3.54 FIP and 1.09 WHIP. Coinciding with his production has been Maeda’s ability to remain healthy while others in the rotation have fallen to injury.
Presumably playing a role in that is the Dodgers’ efforts to provide him with five days’ rest, which Maeda had during his seven seasons pitching in Japan, whenever possible.