Kenta was all smiles yesterday
He came into the game as an unknown quantity in the Majors and left knowing that his craft plays well in the States... And so does his bat. Maeda went six strong innings, struck out four, walked none and gave up five hits. Although he scrambled a bit in the sixth inning, Kenta induced several key ground balls to get out of the jam. Via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com:
"I'm just very happy to get the win in my Major League debut," Maeda said. "I was a little bit nervous at first, but my teammates scored four runs for me [in the first inning] and that helped me relax a lot. I was able to get back on the mound and do what I usually do."So, is swinging a mighty stick also a part of his repertoire?
Kenta not only stifled the Padres, he beat them to a pulp with his bat. In the fourth inning he whacked an 0-2 pitch for a home run run into the left field bleachers. It was his first Major League hit in only his second career at-bat.
"He did everything we thought he could do, and even hit a home run, so that's tough to match," said Clayton Kershaw. "Watching him hit in batting practice, I knew he had the ability, but I've played for eight years and hit one homer, so I'm pretty impressed. We're supposed to pitch good, but when we do that, that's Little League stuff."Watch an Japanese broadcast of his homer here. Photo above of Kenta Maeda via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2016. Go here to check out more pics by Jon from yesterday's game. Below are more links to check out:
- BTW, per many sources the Dodgers are only the second team in Major League history to start the season with three straight shutouts. The only other team to do it was the 1963 Cardinals. BTW, that Cardinal team did not make the playoffs that year, so don't think for a second that this beginning should automatically lead to something grander.
- Via Doug Padilla at ESPN, "Kenta Maeda puts on a show in Dodgers debut."
“All of his off-speed pitches had their moments, and we picked the times when to throw the off-speed to the right hitter based off the game plan,” catcher A.J. Ellis said. “Kenta had done his homework and had a pretty good idea of these hitters once we walked into our pregame meeting. We were on the same page, and then he went out there and executed it.”
- Via Emmett Rosenbaum at the Sports Quotient, "Dodgers’ Injuries Shows The Value Of Depth."
If not for their depth, the Dodgers 2016 season could easily have been derailed this spring. With almost half of an opening day roster on the DL, most teams would be behind the eight ball by the end of April. Instead, the Dodgers are fielding not just a competitive team on Monday, but one that also still stacks up against the best in the league.
- Video: Dodgers Firing On All Cylinders - Ned Colletti and Jerry Hairston Jr. praise the Dodgers after another shutout. (Video Link)
- Yesterday was the official release of Panini's Diamond Kings Baseball card set. Check out some preview pics of a box break at Panini's blog here; including pics of Leo Durocher and Corey Seager below.
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