LOS ANGELES — Going into the 2016 season, Kenta Maeda had as many injury concerns as any Dodgers pitcher. Yet here he stands as the rock of the starting rotation, ready to open this showdown series against the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
Maeda leads the Dodgers in innings this season (136⅔), and on Tuesday night will make his 25th start, tied for the team lead, with co-leader Scott Kazmir headed for an MRI on Tuesday to determine the cause of his back and neck problems.
The last Dodgers rookie to lead the team in innings pitched was Fernando Valenzuela (192⅓) in 1981.
There was enough concern with Maeda, reportedly with his elbow and shoulder, in the offseason, that he signed one of the most team-friendly contracts of all time, an eight-year, $25 million deal laden with another $81.2 million in incentives.
Should Maeda reach his current pace of roughly 32 starts and 182 innings this year, he will have earned $9.15 million of a potential $10.15 million in bonuses.
Maeda last pitched one week ago, in Philadelphia, moved back specifically so he could start against the Giants. He has been a little better with extra rest this season, though the difference has been overblown.
In 11 starts with four days rest, Maeda is 5-5 with a 3.39 ERA, 3.83 FIP and 26.4-percent strikeout rate, averaging 5.79 innings per start.
In 13 starts with five or more days rest, Maeda is 7-2 with a 3.21 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 24.1-percent strikeout rate, averaging 5.62 innings per start.
The key for Maeda, as it is for most Dodgers starting pitchers these days, is length. When he has been able to record an out in the sixth inning of a start in 2016, the Dodgers are 12-4. They are 3-5 in Maeda’s other starts.
The Dodgers have won both games Madison Bumgarner has started against them this season, but both were back in April, both started by Clayton Kershaw.
Bumgarner struck out 15 and walked two in 11 innings against the Dodgers this season, but they got to him on April 15 at Dodger Stadium to the tune of seven runs (four earned) in five innings, including two home runs by Kiké Hernandez.
The left-hander is 8-5 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 career games at Dodger Stadium, including 13 starts, with 83 strikeouts and 12 walks in 90 innings. Bumgarner has never walked more than two batters in a start in Los Angeles, and he has allowed more than two runs at Dodger Stadium just four times.
Maeda has faced the Giants just once in 2016, allowing one run on four hits in seven innings in a win on April 17, striking out seven with three walks.
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA