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Kenta Maeda starts finale for Dodgers, looking for a sweep of Pirates

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San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers go for their fifth straight win and a sweep of the Pirates on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Kenta Maeda starts the series finale, looking to build on two straight solid starts after a rough beginning to his season.

Maeda struck out eight in each of his last two outings, allowing four total runs (three earned) in 12 innings, with no home runs allowed. That followed a four-start stretch with 17 runs allowed in 19 innings, with seven home runs allowed.

With the current state of the Dodgers rotation, it’s hard to predict with any certainty beyond more than a few days ahead, but with hard decisions looming Maeda might be the next in line to ride the rest train.

The Dodgers plan to activate Hyun-jin Ryu from the disabled list to start Thursday in Colorado, and if all goes well next week could see Brandon McCarthy activated Monday, and Rich Hill on Tuesday. Both are scheduled to pitch Wednesday, with McCarthy throwing a simulated game at Dodger Stadium and Hill making his second rehab start for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, in San Jose.

That would mean seven starting pitchers, and with the Dodgers not wanting to use a six-man rotation for any length of time, two pitchers getting some unpleasant news. An obvious fall guy is Alex Wood, even with how well he has pitched, just because he can be such a weapon in the bullpen, including in high-leverage setup situations late.

Even looking into next week seems too far into the future. A lot can happen between now and then, after all. But I do wonder if tonight is Maeda’s last start before some sort of break.

You just hope he stays safe if he happens to run the bases. After all, sliding can be dangerous.

Game info

Time: 7:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA