When the Los Angeles Dodgers lost Zack Greinke to the Diamondbacks and then saw Brett Anderson and other pitchers go down or recover more slowly than hoped, there was some serious concern about the non-Kershaw portions of their rotation. In preseason previews there was always reference made to their pickup of Kenta Maeda, but it was tinged with uncertainly and in some cases guarded expectations. Indeed, in writeups he was often paired with their pickup of Scott Kazmir, as in “they got Maeda and Kazmir, but there are still questions . . .” Which was fair because, hey, we really didn’t know how he’d do.
So far, however, Maeda has been more than some needed depth added to a depleted rotation. He has been absolutely fantastic. Last night he stymied the rival Giants, allowing only one earned run in seven innings of work. In his three starts he has a 0.47 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 15/4 K/BB ratio across 19 frames. One of those walks was intentional. He’s allowed fourteen hits and only that one earned run. For what it’s worth Zack Greinke has a 6.75 ERA, 1.558 WHIP and 15/5 K/BB ratio in his three starts.
I’m not making any grand pronouncements or conclusions about Maeda or Greinke for that matter (he’ll get better obviously) but so far, in the early going, one of the big questions the Dodgers had — who will step up after Clayton Kershaw? — has been answered in a pretty satisfying way for those who have an interest in the Dodgers winning baseball games.