Dodgers @ Padres May 5, 2017: Maeda brings new cutter to Petco; Gonzalez to DL


The Dodgers open a brief weekend road trip with a series in San Diego on Friday night, their first matchup with the Padres at Petco Park this season.

7:10 p.m.
San Diego
Puig RF Renfroe
Maeda (R)
Chacin (R)

Kenta Maeda (2-2, 6.58 ERA, 3.58 FIP) looks to build off the success he had in his last start against the Phillies when he silenced the worriers with seven innings of quality work in the 5-3 Dodger win. He allowed two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts and a walk on 101 pitches, his best outing of the year. He unleashed his new cutter 17 times, only allowing one hit off his new pitch.

The Dodgers and Maeda lost to San Diego on April 4, but overall he is 2-2 with a 3.67 against the Padres in five career starts, striking out 31 batters in 27 innings. At Petco Park he is 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA in three starts and has allowed seven runs on 12 hits in 15 innings amongst the gas lamps.

Maeda’s new cutter, first introduced in San Diego during the opening series, should play well in the pitcher-friendly park. Maeda aims to keep the homers at a minimum after allowing seven through his first five starts this season (2.4 HR/9). The most home runs the right-hander has allowed in a season was 22 during his second season with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in 2009. He averaged 0.6 home runs per nine innings over his eight-year career in Japan. Maeda, known for his fine-tuned command, allowed 20 long balls in his first year with the Dodgers in 32 starts.

The fourth-place Padres send Jhoulys Chacin (3-3, 5.82 ERA, 4.13 FIP) to the mound. He has yet to allow a run this season at Petco Park in 14 2/3 innings. The Dodgers routed Chacin on Opening Day, chasing him after 3 1/3 innings and nine runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and two walks. Chacin is 9-8 with a 4.49 ERA against the Dodgers in 21 career games.


The big news of the day is that of Adrian Gonzalez and his first trip to the disabled list in his 14-season career.

Gonzo has been dealing with a herniated disc, stiffness in his right forearm and a left triceps strain, as well as right elbow soreness. Both his offense and defense have been noticeably affected. He’s hitting .255/.327/.309/.635 with only five extra-base hits, none of the home run variety. Chad wrote about his injury and struggles yesterday.

It’s unfortunate that the Butter & Egg Man hasn’t been himself, but it also allows rookie sensation Cody Bellinger to step in and play first base on a daily basis. Bellinger is hitting .303/.361/.576/.937 with two home runs in his first nine Major League games. While it’s easy to imagine Bellinger as the future Dodgers first baseman — and he has been nothing short of impressive so far — Gonzalez isn’t going to pass the torch just yet. Nevertheless, Bellinger has burst on to the scene with almost as much gusto as Yasiel Puig did in his debut month in 2013, and I’m enjoying every moment.

Joc Pederson, who hit the Opening Day grand slam against Chacin, returns to the Dodgers lineup batting sixth behind Bellinger and reclaims center field for Friday’s opener. Pederson was dealing with a right groin strain before landing on the 10-day DL.

The Dodgers (15-14) won three of four games during their first matchup against the Padres (12-18), the opening series of the season. Last season the Dodgers went 5-4 at Petco Park. The Dodgers have yet to win a series on the road this year. With a four-game set at Coors Field looming, it would be best to celebrate Cinco De Mayo and set the tone for the series with a win over the Friars.

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler
Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the co-editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation, Dodger Blue 1958 and The Hardball Times. She currently contributes to True Blue LA. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.