The Dodgers entered today’s game with thoughts of a sweep against the first-place Brewers, but the Dodger bats were stifled against Zach Davies and the Brewers bullpen and they fell by a score of 3-0.
Kenta Maeda struck out seven batters in his four innings of work, but that doesn’t really tell the tale of his effectiveness in this outing. Maeda did very well at getting ahead in the count, but he really struggled putting batters away. Maeda walked three batters and hit one, and three of those four came after being ahead 0-2. Maeda had decent fastball command, but when it came time to pull out the off-speed pitches, he threw too many that were hung or non-competitive. He was missing arm-side with the changeup, and either pulling or hanging the slider. After a period where it looked like he had his release point sorted, he was struggling heavily with it today.
This caused a reliance on the curve, which Eric Thames took advantage of in the first inning:
— MLB (@MLB) June 4, 2017
That was Maeda’s third curve of the plate appearance. His curve only really works as a freeze pitch, and that was a whiff situation. Throwing three of four curves is a good way for a freeze pitch to stop causing freezes, and Thames made him pay.
Maeda’s lack of ability to put batters away drove up his pitch count quickly: 30 after 1, 53 after 2, and 93 in his four innings. He may have been able to get through five but Dave Roberts elected to pull him early, which makes sense given how many of Maeda’s pitches were high-stress. Maeda struck out seven, walked three, hit one, and allowed two runs on two hits in his short outing.
Meanwhile, Zach Davies put on a command clinic for most of his outstanding 6+ innings. After Logan Forsythe led off the game reaching on an error, the Dodgers did not reach base again until Yasmani Grandal hit an infield single in the fifth. Davies walked Corey Seager in the sixth, then allowed two singles to begin the seventh. That was all the Dodgers could do against the right-hander. It’s frustrating that the Dodgers couldn’t do much more against a pitcher who tops out around 93, but Davies is one of the best command pitchers they’ve faced so far this year. He was hitting nearly every spot with good movement on his two-seamer and change. It was impressive. Unfortunately, the runners that Davies left on base upon his exit were quickly erased by a Grandal double play (on a belt-high fastball, somehow) and an Austin Barnes fly-out.
The Dodger bullpen was effective until Sergio Romo pitched the eighth. Romo allowed a dinger by Domingo Santana and was really searching for his slider, which is not exactly what you want from him. Still, the main issue today was the quiet offense. It’s hard to complain too strenuously the day after they scored double digit runs, but a loss is a loss. The Dodgers fall to 35-23.
After the series win and a 4-3 road trip, the Dodgers return home to face the Washington Nationals, one of the best teams in the National League. Hyun-Jin Ryu will go against Gio Gonzalez in a southpaw battle, starting at 7:10 PM PDT. After a run of short starts this weekend, the Dodgers will be looking for a long outing from Ryu.