GLENDALE, ARIZONA – New Los Angeles Dodger Kenta Maeda made his third preseason start, allowing two unearned runs in 3⅔ innings on Tuesday.
The former Hiroshima Carp ace allowed four hits and two walks, while striking out three in a 3⅔-inning stint as the Dodgers lost 8-6 to the Chicago White Sox.
Despite allowing his first runs and giving up some hits, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts liked most of what he saw from his new right-hander.
“I still thought he threw the ball well,” Roberts said after the contest. “There were some empty swings with his fastball. He used both sides of the plate, changing speeds.
“He faced some good hitters over there. He left a changeup up to (Jose) Abreu for a double, got a sinker in and Abreu (got a) base hit up the middle. But overall, a good hitting club over there, and it was another productive outing for Kenta.”
Maeda regretted not being able to pitch out of a fourth-inning jam that started with a one-out, two-base error. After a strikeout and a walk, Maeda surrendered a first-pitch RBI single to J.B. Shuck before being lifted.
“Errors are going to happen,” Maeda said. “If I had pitched better, I could have prevented those runs. It (allowing runs) was bound to happen. I don’t really worry about it. What was frustrating today was that the runs came after an error and I could have shut them down.”
Maeda said, however, that it was another positive experience.
“I’m still throwing some fat pitches, but I was able to get some strikeouts, so it was a learning experience,” he said. Next time I want to do a good job while increasing my innings and pitch count and not walking batters.
“There were times when I threw pitches on the corner that I wanted strikes on but were called balls. Had I got them, I would have had more strikeouts. I think I’m going to have to establish my reputation among the umpires as a pitcher with good control.”
Roberts said that while Maeda was still learning major league hitters, he knows how to pitch.
“The more hitters he faces, the more information he registers,” Roberts said. “He understands how to attack guys and get guys out. Right now, he’s just going on faith with the catchers and looking at the fingers they put down. But there’s a learning curve for Kenta and he’s starting to learn hitters, so every time he faces a major league hitter, he’s got some information.
“The more video he watches and starts to learn individual swings, I’m sure he’ll have his own idea and maybe you’ll see him start shaking off (his catcher’s signs) more.”