Maeda will return to the rotation after pitching out of the Dodgers' bullpen during the playoffs. He finished the 2017 season with a 4.22 ERA and 140:34 K:BB across 25 starts and four relief appearances. Given the Dodgers' depth at starting pitcher, Maeda will likely be stuck at the back end of the staff.
Maeda was shifted to the bullpen following his start against the Phillies on Thursday, David Vassegh of AM 570 LA Sports reports.
The Dodgers won't need a fifth starter for the remainder of the season thanks to a team off day next week, so Maeda will head back to the bullpen as the team gears up for the playoffs. Maeda was never expected to make the Dodgers' postseason rotation with the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Alex Wood and Rich Hill ahead of him, so this move isn't all too surprising. The 29-year-old spent some time in the bullpen earlier in the season, allowing just one run in five innings while striking out seven batters in a pair of appearances. Look for him to serve as an important multi-inning reliever for the Dodgers down the stretch.
Maeda was originally scheduled to take the mound this Sunday against the Nationals, but manager Dave Roberts has decided to replace him with Hyun-Jin Ryu for that contest and shift Maeda back a few days to face off against the Phillies, who represent a much more enticing matchup.
Maeda allowed four runs on four hits while striking out four batters through just three innings during Monday's loss to the Giants.
It's impossible to read too much into this start from Maeda, as the game was delayed twice for a total of three hours and 34 minutes. Simply put, that's a nightmare for a starting pitcher's routine. Maeda also entered the outing with a sterling 3.42 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 10.1 K/9 in the second half, so Monday's underwhelming showing is likely more to do with the rain delays than anything else. The Dodgers appear likely to stick with six-man rotation moving forward, so Maeda lines up to make his next start against Washington at Nationals Park on Sunday.
Maeda will get another start next Tuesday against the Giants after manager Dave Roberts announced that the Dodgers will stick with a six-man rotation, Bill Plunkett of The Orange County Register reports.
Roberts' decision to continue giving his starters extra rest may have been influenced by Clayton Kershaw's uncharacteristically poor outing against the Rockies on Thursday. The news gives Maeda another turn in the rotation, placing him in a favorable matchup against the light-hitting Giants. The 29-year-old has pitched well in the second half, posting a 3.42 ERA and 10.1 K/9 in nine starts since the All-Star break.
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