LOS ANGELES -- Making spot starts has become a new adjustment for Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda.Manager Dave Roberts decided to move Maeda from the bullpen into the rotation Tuesday night to give the starters an extra day of rest, and Maeda delivered with a four-hit, six-strikeout shutout over seven innings
LOS ANGELES -- Making spot starts has become a new adjustment for Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda.
Manager Dave Roberts decided to move Maeda from the bullpen into the rotation Tuesday night to give the starters an extra day of rest, and Maeda delivered with a four-hit, six-strikeout shutout over seven innings in the Dodgers' 4-0 win over the Angels.
Maeda tossed his longest outing since May 10, while improving his record to 6-3.
"The last three or four outings, he's been aggressive," Roberts said. "Attacking, filling up the strike zone ... putting hitters on the defensive, and the fastball was really good. The command was good. He and I had a great repertoire tonight. Slider, the curveball was sharp. Really, there weren't any good swings they got off on him. To be efficient and give us seven innings, it's what we needed to start a new winning streak."
Maeda made his second spot start of the month after a five-inning, three-hit win against Cincinnati on June 18. Going from starter to middle reliever has come with new challenges. His mentality has changed when he enters games, giving him a different approach.
"I think there's definitely a sense of urgency overall," Maeda said through an interpreter. "I didn't start off the year on a good note. Regardless, whether I'm in the bullpen or starting, there's definitely a sense of urgency that I feel to produce results."
Maeda, who threw 92 pitches, 64 for strikes, said his cutter, which was used to record five outs, was an effective tool.
"It's a very important weapon," Maeda said. "It's something I can [use to] get Major League hitters out and it increases my repertoire of pitching in general."
Roberts said he's unsure when Maeda could start again, but it could come soon, depending on how long it takes starter Brandon McCarthy to get back to form.
"It's a performance game," Roberts said. "We do have depth in starting pitching. But I think that Kenta understands what he can control and he's taking charge of it and making good results."
Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.