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Kenta Maeda plays catch up after slow start

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RHP settled down after 2-run first inning

MLB: San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers offense, or lack thereof, was certainly the main culprit in Tuesday night’s 4-0 loss to the Padres, but they were also forced to play from behind after a slow first inning by starter Kenta Maeda.

San Diego had three hits and scored twice in the first inning against Maeda, but the key to the 29-pitch frame was a leadoff walk to Travis Jankowski after starting him with two strikes.

“The fastball command really wasn’t where it should have been,” manager Dave Roberts said. “To look back at that first hitter, to get ahead 0-2 then lose him to a walk.”

Maeda called the leadoff walk regrettable.

“I was a little excited, and as a result I couldn’t throw as many strikes as I wanted to,” Maeda said. “It was the season opener, the first hitter. You want to start out on a good note.”

Maeda settled down after the first, and allowed three runs in five innings. He was pulled after just 75 pitches because his spot in the batting order came up in the fifth, and Scott Van Slyke lined out as a pinch hitter.

Roberts said that even if Maeda’s spot, which was due up fourth in the inning, hadn’t come up, he was leaning toward calling for the bullpen anyway, though Maeda wanted to pitch the sixth.

Maeda was three batters into his third time though the Padres’ order. Opposing batters hit .338/.387/.500 the third time through against Maeda in 2016.

“Each game you try to evaluate and watch within its own sample of that one game. He gave up a hard-hit ball to Janikowki, then got a soft ground ball to get out of the inning that third time through,” Roberts said. “I appreciated how Kenta felt, that he could keep going and get another inning.”

Short hops

Corey Seager, who had two errant throws including one throwing error on Monday, bounced another throw in the first inning on Tuesday, though this was a pretty clear infield single by Hunter Renfroe. Roberts downplayed the oblique injury Seager suffered in spring — on a throw — but not the four weeks lost because of it.

“As I understand it, he’s healthy. I think a little bit right now is that he’s out of sync. Just the rhythm out there defensively, he doesn’t seem like he’s where he needs to be,” Roberts said. “But we’re going to keep running him out there.”

Up next

The Dodgers and Padres continue their series on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium with another 7:10 p.m. start. This time, Rich Hill will take the mound, facing Trevor Cahill for San Diego.