With Walker Buehler joining the team last week, the Los Angeles Dodgers expanded their rotation to six starters, and faced a scenario where they could soon have seventh, as Hyun-Jin Ryu is working toward a return from a groin strain.
That led to conjecture of at least one of Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling or Alex Wood being placed in the bullpen at some point. Each has experience in a relief role and all three have struggled of late.
The need to make such a decision was alleviated in some part on Monday when the Dodgers placed Stripling on the 10-day disabled list due to inflammation in his right big toe. The conversation doesn’t figure to end, however, as Maeda went out and struggled hours later.
Lasting just 4.2 innings, Maeda succinctly summed up his outing, via J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group:
“I just felt like I didn’t have my stuff today,” Maeda said through his interpreter.
The Milwaukee Brewers opened the game by having their first four batters reach, with Travis Shaw’s RBI single providing a 1-0 lead. Maeda did manage to limit the damage and strand the bases loaded in the first inning.
He then retired five in a row before Shaw worked a two-out walk in the third inning. Ryan Braun followed with a single, and Eric Thames hit a three-run home run. On the night Maeda allowed four runs, walked three and struck out four.
He’s now allowed four earned runs in consecutive starts after holding opponents to three earned runs or fewer in 10 straight outings. Maeda’s 4.2 innings marked his shortest start since he logged 3.2 frames against the Chicago Cubs on June 19.
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