After getting through the rough part of their schedule, the Los Angeles Dodgers have had four scheduled off days in the last two weeks.
Because of that, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has been able to rearrange his starting rotation to give pitchers extra rest in order to keep them fresh from the entirety of a 162-game season and potential postseason.
It also gives the team a chance to give any pitchers that are banged up some extra time to heal, and that was the case for right-hander Kenta Maeda.
Maeda tossed a gem in his last start on May 15 against the San Diego Padres, giving up just three hits in 6.2 shutout innings while striking out a season-high 12 batters without issuing a walk.
In his last at-bat of the game though, Maeda fouled a ball off his thigh and was later diagnosed with a left adductor contusion. Because of the upcoming off days, the Dodgers were able to place Maeda on the 10-day injured list without having to call up another starter to replace him.
Maeda threw a 50-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday in Tampa Bay, and it appears he came out of it feeling healthy. According to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group, Maeda is expected to come off the injured list and start Sunday’s series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates:
Kenta Maeda will start for #Dodgers Sunday in Pittsburgh. Clayton Kershaw moves back to Monday on extra rest
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) May 22, 2019
In nine starts so far this season, Maeda is 5-2 with a 3.51 ERA, 3.75 FIP and 1.19 WHIP with 52 strikeouts and 20 walks in 51.1 innings. He will on be on the injured list for the minimum 10 days by the time he is activated, meaning he only missed one start.
As Plunkett referred to, Maeda being able to return on Sunday means that Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will be pushed back to Monday’s series opener against the New York Mets to give him an extra day of rest after earning a victory this past Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Given a lot of the Dodgers’ starting pitchers’ injury histories, affording them all extra days of rest whenever possible is the best way to keep them healthy throughout the entirety of the regular season and into October.