The Los Angeles Dodgers have gotten off to a hot start this season, outscoring the San Diego Padres, 18-0, in the first two games. The Dodgers have shutout their opponents in two straight games to start the season for just the third time since 1914.
Los Angeles now looks to complete a three-game sweep on Wednesday evening at Petco Park, with Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda making his Dodgers and Major League debut.
The Dodgers signed Maeda to an eight-year deal in the offseason. During his career in Japan, Maeda was 97-67 with a 2.39 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and averaged 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
Last season, he was 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA; he made 29 starts, logged 206.1 innings and won the Japanese equivalent of the Cy Young award. It was the fourth time over the last six years Maeda tossed at least 200 innings and made 26 starts.
The 27 year old had a successful first Major League Spring Training. In 23 innings he gave up 18 hits and six earned runs (2.35 ERA) while striking out 20 and walking five. The right-hander demonstrated outstanding control with the ability to locate four pitches throughout the strike zone. Maeda becomes the eighth Japanese player in Dodgers history.
The Padres send the hard-throwing Andrew Cashner to the mound as he becomes the third right-hander to start in as many games. Cashner had a rough 2015, going 6-16 with a 4.34 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 3.85 FIP in 31 starts.
He historically has pitched well against the Dodgers. In 21 career games (10 starts), Cashner is 1-5 with a 2.10 ERA in 77 innings. He was 0-3 with a 3.38 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers last season.
While the Dodgers pitching has been the big story of the first two games as they have given up a combined six hits over 18 scoreless innings, the offense has also looked strong. As a team, the Dodgers are batting .308 with 23 hits and 18 runs; zero of their runs have come via the long ball.
Both Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig have been key in anchoring the middle of the Dodgers’ lineup; they both are batting .500 with three RBIs each. Puig has hit one triple in each game thus far.
The only change to first-year manager Dave Roberts’ lineup on Wednesday is A.J. Ellis returns behind the plate. He and Austin Barnes are expected to alternate starts behind the plate until Yasmani Grandal is reinstated from the disabled list.
2B: Chase Utley
SS: Corey Seager
3B: Justin Turner
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
RF: Yasiel Puig
LF: Carl Crawford
CF: Joc Pederson
C: A.J. Ellis
P: Kenta Maeda
CF: Jon Jay
2B: Cory Spangenberg
RF: Matt Kemp
1B: Wil Myers
3B: Yangervis Solarte
C: Derek Norris
SS: Alexei Ramirez
LF: Jabari Blash
P: Andrew Cashner