Maeda went six shutout innings in the Dodgers’ 7-0 win over San Diego, allowing just five hits and striking out four. According to catcher A.J. Ellis, the 27-year-old right-hander did a good job mixing his slider, curveball and change-up with his fastball that comes in a tick over 90 mph and that he commands extremely well.
And for as well as he pitched, it was Maeda’s fourth-inning home run off Andrew Cashner that really pumped some excitement into the game and garnered the best response from his teammates:
The Dodgers need someone from the pitching staff to step up following Zack Greinke‘s departure. Maeda signed with Los Angeles in the offseason after a stellar career in Japan. His first impression was a good one and the fact he appears to be able to handle himself with the bat as well is an added bonus.
Now Maeda wasn’t exactly facing the toughest lineup in the league – the Padres failed to score a run against Los Angeles over the entire three-game series – but he did what he had to do and rose above the nerves he was experiencing to fashion a very memorable debut.
It wasn’t a perfect first start, though. Maeda recorded his first error when he made an error throw on a bunt play. At least that gives him something to work on as he looks ahead to his next scheduled start, which is the Dodgers’ home opener April 12 against Greinke’s Diamondbacks.
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