A downpour of rain and a slew of off-days allowed the Dodgers to skip Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu during this turn through the starting rotation.
Maeda would be available all weekend as a reliever, Dave Roberts said before Saturday’s game against the San Francisco Giants, and pitched a scoreless seventh inning in a tie game. He got into trouble, allowing a leadoff double by Austin Jackson and an infield single by Andrew McCutchen, but got out of the inning by striking out Buster Posey and Evan Longoria.
Ryu will start Wednesday against Oakland. Alex Wood starts Tuesday.
Maeda was scheduled to pitch on Friday at AT&T Park. Rain postponed the game until April 28. The Dodgers elected to start Rich Hill on Saturday, with Clayton Kershaw kept on regular rest for Sunday.
“It’s a good group of guys in understanding that it’s not ideal for any of these guys,” Roberts said. “To be open to some adjustments, that’s what it calls for. Fortunately for us, our guys are on board with that.”
Maeda excelled as a reliever during the 2017 postseason. But his contract is heavily laden with incentives, including rewards for games started and innings pitched.
Maeda will return to the rotation next weekend against Arizona at Dodger Stadium. Maeda threw five scoreless innings in his 2018 debut last week. He had hoped to incorporate some of the aggression he displayed as a reliever into his performance as a starter. Saturday, he got a chance to reprise his bullpen role.
“For us to have seen Kenta out of the ’pen helps,” Roberts said before the game. “And to give him the potential to still get his work in, obviously abbreviated. With the off days, with the rain, we’ve got to make some adjustments.”
Ryu could not complete the fourth inning in his first outing of the season. He gave up three runs to Arizona as he lacked command of his fastball.
Short hops: Josh Fields rejoined the bullpen after his wife, Brittney, gave birth to their first child this week. Fields went on paternity leave Tuesday, conveniently timed for the team to call up another reliever to help the bedraggled bullpen after a 15-inning game. The Dodgers did not need to make a corresponding move to activate Fields; they designated pitcher Zach Neal for assignment Thursday.