With a surplus of starting pitchers, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been afforded with the luxury of providing extra rest when possible or necessary, and juggling pitchers in and out of the rotation as results dictated.
Thus far, Alex Wood has moved out of the bullpen and into the rotation, whereas Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu have been removed from the rotation and utilized as relievers. Ryu made his first career relief appearance — a four-inning save — on May 25, and returned to the rotation six days later.
Now Maeda is poised to follow in those same footsteps. The right-hander pitched in relief on June 9, earning a four-inning save. As Rich Hill labored through his start on Thursday against the Cleveland Indians, Maeda never began to warm up nor was seen in the bullpen.
According to Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times, that’s due to Maeda being penciled in to start the road triple finale on Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds so as to provide an extra day of rest for the other starters:
Kenta Maeda will start on Sunday. The other five starters are getting an extra day.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) June 15, 2017
The Dodgers are currently in a stretch of playing 20 games in 20 days; it runs through Sunday, July 2, at Petco Park.
Maeda this season is 4-3 with a 4.95 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 11 games (10 starts). Despite the successful relief appearance, he expressed disappointment in the role and hoped to make his way back to the rotation.
A strong showing on Sunday at Great American Ball Park could go a long way in Maeda regaining his standing as a starter.