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Kenta Maeda's slider was key to success against Padres

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Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES ---- Before today's game, manager Dave Roberts commented on how confident he was that Kenta Maeda would pitch a good game this afternoon.  Roberts' faith was rewarded with Maeda's seven-inning, 13 strikeout performance.

The one pitch that stood out today for Dave Roberts and Kenta Maeda was the slider.

"The slider was sharp, was late, throwing his breaking ball over for strikes, the curveball,' said Roberts, "it was all about the slider today."

"Also, he was throwing some fastballs, elevating the fastball," Roberts said, "making them conscious of the fastball and having that slider that was so dominant was great to see."

Maeda also believed his slider worked well today.

"Overall I was able to command all of my pitches, said Kenta Maeda through his translator, "especially with the slider.  I was able to manipulate it so it looked like a strike going in and it became a ball."

The Padres were the first team Maeda has faced three times and that went into today's game plan.

"I was able to throw against them knowing their strengths and weaknesses so that helped a lot."

Maeda's assessment of his first half was one of balancing the good and the bad sections of his season.

"I've been able to experience both the good stretch and the bad stretch," Maeda said, "so I think that overall, it was a productive half season."

Catcher Yasmani Grandal thought this was another good Maeda game with his ability to throw his curveball and slider for strikes.

"He was commanding all of his pitches," Grandal said, "I felt we had a really good plan today."

Grandal passed on a simple message when he congratulated Maeda after he left the game.

"Just believe in the process in how to get the out," said Grandal, "just concentrate in executing."

Up next

The Dodgers will have the next four days off.  When they return from the All-Star break, the Dodgers will start a nine-game road trip with a weekend series against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix.  Bud Norris will take the mound for the Dodgers against a Diamondback to be announced.