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Kenta Maeda makes MLB debut, looking to continue strong Dodgers start

Denis Poroy/Getty Images

SAN DIEGO -- No pressure, Kenta Maeda.

Not only do you have millions from Japan watching your major league debut, but you also have to follow Clayton Kershaw and Scott Kazmir, who each allowed no runs and just one hit in their starts, a pair of shutout wins over the Padres at Petco Park.

No team has had its first three starting pitchers each allow zero runs to open a season since the 1994 Braves. That team also happened to start their campaign in San Diego against the Padres, and Hall of Famers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz combined for 22 scoreless frames and 25 strikeouts.

Atlanta wasn't done, as two nights later at Dodger Stadium their fifth starter, Kent Mercker, threw a no-hitter against the Dodgers.

Maeda was impressive during spring training, putting up a 2.35 ERA in 23 innings, with 20 strikeouts and five walks. His competitiveness impressed manager Dave Roberts, who thought that would bode well for the games that count.

"His pitchability is off the charts. What was actually encouraging is that he shook a couple times to get to a certain pitch. Getting into the at-bat, seeing hitters swing, and making that adjustment," Roberts said a few weeks back. "When we get into the season, he's going to be that much better."

Maeda didn't allow a home run in the pitching-friendly environment in Arizona. The Padres are looking for not only their first home run of 2016 but also their first run, period. San Diego is 0-for-5 with a walk with runners in scoring position to date this season, and all six of those plate appearances came against Dodgers relievers on Monday.

The Padres haven't had a runner in scoring position against a Dodges starting pitcher yet this season.

The Dodgers, who also have yet to hit a home run this season, are 12-for-23 (.522) with three doubles and two triples with runners in scoring position, plus two walks and a sacrifice fly. That would help explain the 18 runs to date.

Game info

Time: 6:10 p.m.

TV: SportsNet LA

Radio: 570 AM