Dodgers 4, Rockies 1: Kenta Maeda dominates, lowers ERA to 0.36

The Dodgers evened the series with the Rockies with a 4-1 win on Saturday night, putting the team at 11-7 on the year and 7-5 on the road. After a rough game yesterday, the Dodgers cured everything that was ailing them by sending starter Kenta Maeda to the mound.

While many (including me) were concerned about how Maeda would handle Coors Field, he didn’t seem to bothered by it.

“I was told that it is very similar to Arizona and the balls fly a lot more than the usual fields, but what I am planning to do is to pitch the way that I do and just locate pitches,” Maeda said.

Maeda basically just wanted to execute, and that’s exactly what he did over 94 pitches and 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball. Maeda carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, where he worked out of a bases-loaded jam, limiting the Rockies hitters to three hits and one walk. He also set a new career-high in strikeouts with eight, lowering his ERA on the year to 0.36.

There’s a lot of wondering going around right now about how much of Maeda’s success is luck on balls in play (.250 BABIP) and stranding runners (100% LOB). While he obviously won’t post a 0.36 ERA on the year, his FIP clocks in at 2.51, so to this point Maeda’s pitching like the #2 starter people have wanted.

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As far as the Dodgers offense is concerned, they struck in the first inning for the second-straight game. With one out, a single by Corey Seager and a double by Yasiel Puig put runners on second and third for Adrian Gonzalez, who drove in a run with a ground out. Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood escaped the inning without further damage, but the Dodgers had a 1-0 lead.

That lead only grew in the second inning, when following a single by Joc Pederson, noted home-run monster A.J. Ellis bombed a no-doubter like 15 rows back into the left-field seats to get the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

The Dodgers then waited patiently (or couldn’t hit for crap, WHATEVER) until the sixth inning and finally managed to scratch a run across against the vaunted Rockies bullpen. An Ellis single, followed by a Maeda sacrifice, eventually led to a run after Chase Utley flopped one down the left-field line for a double and a 4-0 lead.

The Rockies bullpen shut the Dodgers down the rest of the way, and at Coors Field, because of course they did.

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After Maeda left with one out in the seventh, which was honestly a somewhat confusing decision just for a lefty-lefty matchup, the much-maligned bullpen entered. Luis Avilan was first out of the pen, and he immediately allowed a slow grounder to short which Seager proceeded to throw into the third row for a “hit” and an error. Avilan then induced the next batter to ground out, and he was relieved by Joe Blanton. Blanton immediately allowed a double to last night’s hero Brandon Barnes to cut the lead to 4-1, and the run was charged to Avilan’s account despite him surprisingly doing his job.

The setup man for the day was Pedro Baez, which is fitting since I wrote an article in the morning about his development.

It was time to test the curse.

While Baez did allow a single, he also struck out two batters, so there’s that. Curse broken, CONFIRMED.

Anyway, next was Kenley Jansen so the game was over.

Tomorrow’s rubber match in the series will be played at 1:10 PST/4:10 EST, and the Dodgers will send Alex Wood to the hill against Rockies starter Jordan Lyles.

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Notes

Enrique Hernandez did this.

-Puig quietly only has four hits in his past 26 at-bats, with the only extra-base hit coming on today’s double. That’ll happen, but more troubling is him striking out eight times against zero walks over that span after starting the season with five walks against six strikeouts.

-One shouldn’t read into the wins pace this early on, but seriously guys, if they keep this pace up they would win 99 games. So … relax a bit.

About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times