The Los Angeles Dodgers scored first for the first time in five meetings with the San Diego Padres this season and completed a two-game series sweep behind a 2-0 victory. The Dodgers finished 7-2 on their homestand and now embark on an eight-game road trip.
Kenta Maeda pitched with the kind of “conviction” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said is key to his success, and Wednesday’s game further validated that. “There’s days where his command is better than other days. And I think that with any pitcher, that leads to success. With him, it’s his fastball, slider, split, there just needs to be more consistent execution,” Roberts said before first pitch.
“I think his intent is right. The game planning, preparation is something that’s been inconsistent. When it’s synced up, he’s as good as anybody. When he’s in that mindset of executing and committing to a specific pitch, especially a fastball, he keeps guys on their toes, keeps them off his breaking stuff and he’s better for it.”
Maeda struck out six batters in a row, which was broken up by Manny Machado’s one-out double in the fourth inning that Cody Bellinger misplayed.
Maeda went on to finish with 12 strikeouts over 6.2 innings and nearly matched the Padres’ three hits with two of his own. It marked a fifth career start with at least 10 strikeouts, and the first this season. His career high is 13, set as a rookie in 2016 against the Padres.
More impressive was each of Maeda’s strikeouts on the night was swinging, and he threw just 85 pitches. Roberts was showered with boos as he walked toward the mound to remove Maeda, who received a standing ovation on his way to the dugout.
Maeda’s 12 strikeouts set a season high for any Dodgers pitcher. He additionally helped himself with a blooper into shallow right field that dropped for a two-run single in the second inning. He led off the fourth with a line-drive base hit but was stranded.
Kenley Jansen issued a walk and was the victim of Eric Hosmer’s bunt against the shift before he managed to leave the tying runs on base by striking out the next two batters to convert his 14th save of the season.
Although the Dodgers came away with a win, they were deficient in that area. They left at least one runner on through the first six innings, stranded 11 overall and went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.