Padres @ Dodgers July 10, 2016: Approaching the break

1:10 p.m. PT
Los Angeles
CF Upton 2B Kendrick
1B Myers SS Seager
RF Kemp 3B Turner
3B Solarte 1B Gonzalez
LF Dickerson RF Puig
C Norris  CF Thompson
2B Schimpf C  Grandal
SS Ramirez LF Van Slyke
Friedrich (R)
Maeda (R)

The Dodgers are hoping to finish the first “half” of the season strong by securing a series win against the Padres, and Kenta Maeda gets the ball for the last game before the break. Maeda had a rough start against the powerful Orioles last time out, leaning too heavily upon his curveball, of which he had only okay command. Maeda is depending heavily upon his offspeed pitches right now, which is not unusual for pitchers in Japan, though at some point one has to wonder if that strategy is sustainable. Maeda may always be a slider-first guy, but at a certain point he should consider adding in more two-seamers to replace some curves. The good news is that if this is the league’s adjustment to him, he’s still pitching quite well. Even if one ignores Maeda’s initial four-start run (which you shouldn’t), in his last 13 outings he has a league-average ERA and a better than average FIP. This version of Maeda is still quite a good pitcher. Whether or not he’ll tire out is still a valid question.

The Dodgers announced how they will align their rotation after the All-Star break. They will start against Arizona on Friday with Bud Norris, and Brandon McCarthy and Maeda will finish off the series. Scott Kazmir and Hyun-Jin Ryu will pitch against the Nationals in Washington after that. This seems more about getting rest for the starters than stacking the lefties against the Nationals, because Washington is absolutely killing left-handed pitching this year. They have a 125 wRC+ among non-pitchers against southpaws, second in the league to the Padres, and they’re hitting .279/.351/.514 as a team against lefties. Still, given Ryu’s recovery and Kazmir’s command problems, giving them extra rest is probably a good idea.

The Dodgers still will not give a detailed timetable on Clayton Kershaw, and obviously he will not be available on the first time through the rotation after the break. However, he threw a “light bullpen” today. I would imagine that days like today are going to be very important for gauging his recovery time.

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About Daniel Brim

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Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.