Phillies @ Dodgers August 9, 2016: Eight years of Kenta Maeda?

The Dodgers go for their fourth straight win on Tuesday night when they face the Phillies at Dodger Stadium. After defeating Philadelphia 9-4 on Monday, they look to secure the series win with Kenta Maeda on the mound. With some help from Don Mattingly‘s Marlins, the Boys In Blue could move into a first-place tie with the Giants by the end of the night.

Maeda (10-7, 3.22 ERA, 3.42 FIP) has been a reliable contributor to the injury-plagued rotation this season. Interestingly, Maeda was the one whose health was questioned when the Dodgers signed him to a eight-year $25 million contract in January after medical irregularities were found in his physical. He has shown no signs of elbow problems thus far, and has arguably been the most successful starter for the Dodgers besides Clayton Kershaw. Eight years of this? Yes, please.

7:10 p.m. PT
Los Angeles
2B  Hernandez  2B  Utley
CF  Herrera  SS  Seager
3B  Franco  3B  Turner
1B  Howard  RF  Reddick
C  Rupp  1B  Gonzalez
 RF  Altherr  C  Grandal
 SS  Galves  CF  Pederson
 LF  Asche  LF  Kendrick
Velasquez (R)
Maeda (R)

The right-hander won the Sawamura Award, given to the best pitcher in Japanese baseball, for the Hiroshima Carp twice. He has transitioned to MLB flawlessly and leads the team with 125 2/3 innings pitched and has accumulated 125 strikeouts (9.0 K/9). Even though Scott Kazmir hasn’t landed on the disabled list this season either, Maeda has been a lot more enjoyable to watch than his left-handed rotation mate who has a propensity to serve up the long ball. Maeda has allowed seven fewer home runs (13) than Kazmir (20) so far.

Although Maeda has been a steady part of a rotation constantly in flux, he has yet to pitch past the eighth inning in any of his first 22 starts. He has run into trouble in the seventh frame, allowing three runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings pitched (11.57 ERA).

Last time out in Colorado, the command specialist notched his tenth win, allowing two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and no walks in 5 2/3 innings.

Not only has Maeda been consistent on the mound, but he is also excellent defensively and not too shabby with the bat (.103 BA with six sacrifice bunts).

While Maeda will face the Phillies for the first time in his career, Vincent Velasquez has only pitched against the Dodgers once in relief last year. A much more formidable pitcher than Monday’s starter Zach Eflin (although Eflin was placed on the 15-day DL by the Phillies on Tuesday with patellar tendinopothy in both knees), the big right-hander hails from Pomona, CA. Like Rich Hill, he’s dealt with some blister problems and left early from his previous start against the Giants. He will have his work cut out for him when he battles a Dodger offense that has scored 17 runs over the last two games.

Velasquez (8-3, 3.33 ERA, 3.47 FIP) has struck out 114 batters in 102 2/3 innings (10.0 K/9). He has been one of the few bright spots on the Philadelphia roster this season, and they chose not to move him at the trade deadline.

For your daily roster move, the Dodgers have placed Scott Van Slyke on the 15-day DL with right wrist irritation. Chris Taylor was recalled from Triple-A. That still makes 26 players to land on the DL for the Dodgers this season since this is Van Slyke’s second DL stint. He was on the DL from April 12-June 3 with lower back irritation.

There was also some positive news, as Hill will make his Dodger debut this Friday.

Also, Brandon McCarthy isn’t derailed.

While the Dodgers are concentrating on catching up to San Francisco in the standings, Yasiel Puig was busy posting a raucous party bus escapade with his Oklahoma City teammates on Snapchat. The videos were later deleted.

Andrew Friedman released this statement on Tuesday about the incident:

“We are aware of what Yasiel posted on social media last night and while we are disappointed in his and some of our other players’ judgment, this is a matter we will address internally,” Friedman said.

If the Dodgers win the World Series this year, who wants to go in on a party bus for the team?

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About 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.