D-backs 11, Dodgers 5: On the struggles of Kenta Maeda and the Dodgers

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The Dodgers fell to the D-backs today, 11-5, and the Dodgers have now dropped five of their last six games and have still only won the first series of the season.

I feel like Jon Weisman in writing this, but the easiest thing to do is give in 18 games into the season and just say everybody sucks. Get rid of everybody struggling, no matter the contract or if they were the best last year, just fuck it all. Right? Why not? Sure, I know it’s the easy thing, because doing stuff like I did yesterday is the emotional and satisfying thing.

That doesn’t mean it’s smart or reasonable, however. I understand that’s an easy way to appeal to fans — because in the moment everybody just wants to react and nobody will remember in September when you’re wrong, even if it’s for the fifth straight year — and while I wish I had that level of shamelessness, I just have to point out it doesn’t make sense in the end.

While there are undoubtedly problems with this team, I can’t think of much sillier than predicting they’re only going to win 80 games cause that’s their pace, or hang-wringing over where the standings sit in the NL West like they’re gonna finish last in the NL West or like it’s Game 160 on the year and everything is doomed.

It’s not. There are 144 games left.

Maybe the Dodgers aren’t as good as everybody thought or maybe tomorrow starts a 10-game winning streak and everybody forgets about this slow start. Who knows? What I do know is that barring injuries that seriously impact projections, it’s silly to get worked up in this fashion in April.

And that’s coming from me, a person who constantly worries the Dodgers are about to go 8-154 on the year.

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In a lot of ways, the reaction to Kenta Maeda is that attitude in a nutshell. Maeda is a problem that needs to be fixed and soon. The rock of last year’s rotation has struggled to start the year, and he did so again today by allowing six runs on nine hits, including four homers. Maeda can still miss bats (five strikeouts) and his control is still there (one walk), but the fine command wasn’t — and unfortunately that is what elevated him last year from a starter with fringe MLB stuff to a starter with #3 performance.

The easy thing is to fantasize about sending him down to the minors or giving up or ranting about fallacies about how he sucked in 2016 too, but the reality is that he’s a guy who posted a 3.48 ERA, 3.62 FIP, and 3.18 DRA last year. It remains to be seen if Maeda will pull himself out of this, but he has earned the chance to try, and I’m not sure why people are pretending they simply saw this coming cause they’re so smart.

It’s like hitting on a prediction that Jeff Mathis would light up Madison Bumgarner on Opening Day. Yeah, you might’ve been right, but the things that led you to predict that to begin with still indicate that you’re probably a dumbass for doing so.

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Anyway, back to the game, the Dodgers tried their best to keep themselves in it, scoring on an Enrique Hernandez homer to lead-off the game…

…a Justin Turner RBI single in the third…

…and an Austin Barnes RBI double, Adrian Gonzalez beating out a confused Chris Owings throw, and a Chris Taylor bases-loaded walk in the sixth.

But it just wasn’t enough as the D-backs offense continued to excel against the bullpen. Chris Hatcher was tasked with two innings of work again, and again he didn’t look good, giving up three runs.

Ross Stripling surprisingly continued to struggle, giving up two runs of his own in a frame of work.

So the super subs put up a fight, but the pitching just hasn’t been good enough this series. That should be the story, not the end of the 2017 season for the Dodgers, but I understand the frustration.

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On a lighter note, here’s Yasiel Puig making fun of Adrian Gonzalez‘s running.

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With the loss, the Dodgers drop to a mediocre 8-10 on the year and an awful 2-6 away from Dodger Stadium.

On to the series finale, where the Dodgers aim to salvage something from the series in a day game at 10:10 AM HST/1:10 PM PST/4:10 PM EST. The Dodgers send Brandon McCarthy (2.12 ERA/3.03 FIP/2.42 DRA) to the bump against Shelby Miller (3.50 ERA/2.91 FIP/6.63 DRA), which would hypothetically seem to be a favorable matchup, but nothing has been against the D-backs bats this series.

About Chad Moriyama

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