Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts has announced that right-hander Kenta Maeda will start Game 5 of the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, regardless of the outcome of Wednesday’s Game 4. The Dodgers have been afforded the luxury of saving ace Clayton Kershaw after having won Game 3, giving them a 2-1 edge in the best-of-seven series.
In his first taste of the postseason, Maeda has allowed seven earned runs in seven innings. He started Game 1 of the NLCS against Chicago, going four innings, walking three batters and allowing three earned runs before ultimately earning a no-decision.
If there were a Rookie of the Year Award designated solely for pitchers, Maeda would have to be the favorite due to his 16-11 record with a 3.48 ERA during the regular season. In a year where the Dodgers placed more players on the disabled list and made more calls to the bullpen than any team in big league history, Maeda made 32 starts and threw 175.2 innings, leading the team in both categories.
The 28-year-old rookie is coming over from Osaka, Japan, having signed an incentive-laden contract that will pay him a base salary of $3.125 million over the next eight years. Over his eight seasons in the Japan Central League, Maeda went 97-67 with a 2.39 ERA.
Maeda tailed off a bit as the season progressed on, having posted a 2.95 ERA prior to the All-Star break and a 4.25 after it. In his first season of pitching at Dodger Stadium, he posted a 3.22 ERA in 15 starts, which will be the site of Game 5 when he takes the mound for the Dodgers.