The 2017 MLB season is underway and the Los Angeles Dodgers are looking to hit the ground running. After an impressive 14-3 victory over the San Diego Padres on Opening Day, the Dodgers fell to the Padres in their next game, 4-0.
Kenta Maeda made his first pitching start of the year in that game and struggled, to say the least. He allowed a leadoff walk and the Padres never looked back. According to Matthew Moreno of Dodger Blue, Maeda admitted emotions may have gotten the best of him:
“Since it was my first outing of the year, maybe I was a little too excited,” Maeda said through an interpreter. As a result, I didn’t throw as many strikes as I wanted to. But after that, I was able to settle in and get back to my plan.”
However, manager Dave Roberts noted that Maeda seemed more comfortable as the game went on:
“I thought Kenta got better as the game went on,” Roberts said. “That fastball command early wasn’t where it should have been. … But as the game went on, Kenta threw the ball well.”
While it was encouraging to see Maeda shake off his nerves as the game went on, the right-hander still ultimately gave up three runs on six hits in just five innings pitched. Padres pitcher Clayton Richard clearly outplayed Maeda and the rest of the Dodgers pitching staff, as he pitched eight innings and allowed only five hits.
Luckily, there is more than enough time for Maeda to find his groove and he will get his next chance against the Colorado Rockies.