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Roberts not worried about Maeda's mindset

September 26, 2018

PHOENIX -- Starter-turned-reliever Kenta Maeda broke Christian Walker's sinus with a fastball on Monday night, ending his season with an injury requiring surgery, and the righty served up a walk-off home run to Eduardo Escobar on Tuesday night.Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he wouldn't use Maeda in Wednesday's series finale

PHOENIX -- Starter-turned-reliever Kenta Maeda broke Christian Walker's sinus with a fastball on Monday night, ending his season with an injury requiring surgery, and the righty served up a walk-off home run to Eduardo Escobar on Tuesday night.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he wouldn't use Maeda in Wednesday's series finale against the D-backs, but only because he pitched in the first two games, not because of what happened in those games.

"Right now he's down because of two in a row, but I'm not having him down because of a psychological thing," Roberts said. "With everything that's transpired, I think he's fine."
After hitting the right-handed Walker in the face with a 93-mph fastball, Maeda conceded he was reluctant to throw up and in to the next right-handed batter. Escobar was batting left-handed when he led off the bottom of the ninth with the home run a night later. That was the only batter Maeda faced.
"It's obviously a very unfortunate situation with what happened to Christian Walker," said Roberts. "I don't know how much Kenta knows, but 'm sure he knows the surgery and feels bad. He understands there's no intent, but that doesn't change the result. I don't think it carried over to last night. It was a left-handed hitter."
Imagining crazy tiebreaker scenarios
With the Dodgers taking a half-game lead in the National League West into Wednesday's finale, Roberts said he's focused on winning the final four games of the regular season, but confirmed that Rich Hill (skipped in this weekend's Giants series) is the logical starter for a Game 163 tiebreaker on Monday, if necessary. If that happens and the Dodgers advance to a Tuesday NL Wild Card Game, the logical candidate would be Wednesday night starter Thomas Stripling. The NL Division Series opens on Thursday and Clayton Kershaw, who starts Saturday, would be on normal rest to start Game 1.
"You understand the possibilities but try not to let it get in the way of that game," Roberts said. "You've got the rotation for the weekend set up, and then it will work itself out."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.