Entering Sunday’s nationally televised matchup, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants have split the first two of their three-game series at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles is coming off a loss after struggling against Johnny Cueto and their rally against the Giants bullpen falling short.
The first two games of the series have been sellouts, with the combined attendance making it the largest on back-to-back nights since June 25-27 when the New York Yankees were in town.
Jeff Samardzija, who signed with the Giants during the offseason, makes his first start in the storied rivalry. The Dodgers reportedly had interest in Samardizja prior to him joining San Francisco on a five-year, $90 million contract.
Los Angeles wound up filling out their rotation with Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda, with the latter making the transition from Japan after eight seasons.
Maeda didn’t pitch in any of the four games at AT&T Park, a series in which the Dodgers lost three games. According to Doug Padilla of ESPN, the right-hander is looking forward to the second home start of his career:
“I definitely felt the intensity being at AT&T Park,” Maeda said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing them here in front of the Dodgers’ fans.”
Given that Maeda is in his first Major League season, he acknowledged to not being complete aware of the rivalry between the Dodgers and Giants:
“The thing I want to focus on is being able to pitch well,” he said. “I’m not fully aware of the rivalry and the history of Dodgers and the Giants. I am really just looking forward to pitching against them in front of this crowd.”
Maeda’s has thrown 12 scoreless innings, while giving up 10 hits and issuing one walk to eight strikeouts over two starts against division rivals San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks. He currently ranks fourth on the Dodgers’ all-time list for most scoreless innings to begin a career.