Maeda, Dodgers blank Brewers
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers’ test kitchen is well stocked with ingredients, churning out one tasty treat after another.
A roster that goes much deeper than most has manager Dave Roberts adjusting his apron often, and digging into one new recipe after the next. Unlikely combinations always seem to satisfy in the end.
Kenta Maeda’s six innings was the base of Roberts’ latest creation, followed by relievers Tony Cingrani, Josh Ravin and Kenley Jansen. What resulted was a combined one-hitter that gave the Dodgers a 3-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, and win No. 91, with nearly a week remaining in August.
“Kenta was really good tonight and the fastball was aggressive,” Roberts said. “I think when Kenta is aggressive and on the attack, he is considerably better. ... Through six innings, I thought that was good for Kenta and we went to the ‘pen, where I felt comfortable, to get three innings out of those guys. It was a good night.”
Whether it be on the field, with the lineup, in the starting rotation or even with the bullpen, the Dodgers have mixed and matched pieces without losing their elite level. Aside from what Jansen was able to give Friday, not many could have offered a first-half prediction on the pitching mix Los Angeles used in its latest victory.
Not only was Maeda struggling with consistency and pitch efficiency in the first half, Ravin opened the season with a groin strain suffered in spring training. Cingrani didn’t even join the fray until he was obtained from the Cincinnati Reds on July 31.
“Every guy we run out there out of the bullpen has an unbelievable arm,” third baseman Justin Turner said. “I think Kenley is our softest thrower, throwing 92-mph cutters, but even he can run it up 95-96 (mph). A lot of power arms down there, they know what they are trying to do and they have been executing all year long.”
The victory also gave the Dodgers an impressive 52-14 record at home, another best-in-baseball number.
Maeda (12-5) gave up the one run on one hit over six innings while striking out seven. The only hit he allowed was Domingo Santana’s home run in the second inning. Over his last seven starts, Maeda is 6-1 with a 2.43 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .186 (30-for-161) in that stretch.
“I think I was falling behind (in counts) a lot the first half of the season so what I tried to do was to try to get easy outs and make sure I throw strikes,” Maeda said through a team interpreter afterward.
Logan Forsythe erased Milwaukee’s early lead with his own home run in the fourth inning off Brewers right-hander Chase Anderson. His solo shot to tie the game was his fourth of the season and his first since July 6.
Acquired in a trade from the Tampa Bay Rays in the offseason, Forsythe had been one of the Dodgers’ least consistent producers, but that is starting to change. In his last 15 games since Aug. 6, Forsythe is batting .286 with 10 runs, four doubles, one home run and seven RBIs. His on-base-percentage is .426 in that time.
The Dodgers took the lead for good in the fifth inning on a single by Yasmani Grandal. The hit scored Turner, who walked and stole second base.
Anderson (7-3) gave up two runs over five innings. He struck out six and walked two.
Yasiel Puig padded the lead in the sixth inning with a solo home run to center field. It was the career-best 23rd home run of the season for the right-handed hitting Puig, with 22 of those coming against right-handed pitching. This one came off Brewers right-hander Jared Hughes.
Jansen pitched the ninth inning, recording his 35th save of the season, after getting two days of rest to close out the Dodgers’ most recent series at Pittsburgh.
It was yet another night where the Dodgers received solid play from all aspects of the club.
“I think their strength is their depth in their roster,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s what makes them really good, I think. You know what, any time you go through lineups and teams, if you can get to certain matchups or parts of the bullpen (that is a chance at success). When you are a team that is winning as much as they do, they have a lot of guys performing and they don’t have as many of those weaknesses.”
NOTES: Dodgers SS Corey Seager delivered two hits to extend his hitting streak to a season-best 13 games after getting the day off Thursday at Pittsburgh. ... In two career Dodger Stadium starts against the Brewers, Dodgers RHP Kenta Maeda has given up a combined two runs over 12 1/3 innings. ... Brewers RHP Chase Anderson has surrendered two earned runs or less eight times in his last nine starts he has surrendered two earned runs or less. ... Brewers OF Domingo Santana has 21 home runs this season, including three in the Brewers’ four games thus far against the Dodgers.