|6:10 PM PT7:10 PM MT8:10 PM CT9:10 PM ET21:10 ET1:10 GMT9:10 6:10 PM MST8:10 PM EST8:40 PM VEN5:10 UAE (+1)8:10 PM CT, March 31, 2018
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California Attendance: 45,938
Giants turn to Holland to keep Dodgers winless
LOS ANGELES -- Three years into his major league career, Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda will now mix the deliberate pace of a starting pitcher, with the sense of urgency that a reliever possesses.
The San Francisco Giants, sitting on a 2-0 record despite scoring just two runs in 2018, will be left wondering Saturday, which gear the Dodgers' No. 3 starter will use.
The Giants only know Maeda as a starter keen on energy conservation, and they have shown mixed results against the right-hander. Maeda has been knocked around for a 5.56 ERA against the Giants, his worst against any National League West opponent. But he has managed a 3-1 record against the Giants thanks to some timely run support.
Now added to the mix is the experience Maeda gained as a reliever late in 2018. What appeared to be an experiment turned into a weapon when Maeda recorded a 0.84 ERA in nine relief appearances last postseason. He appeared in four of the seven World Series games.
The Dodgers think the lessons learned as a reliever will help now that Maeda is back in the starting rotation.
"The confidence that Kenta has now, is where he feels like he can dominate when he goes out there," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, assessing Maeda's spring training. "I think the thing is he is learning and trusting the fact that he can go as hard as he can for a long as he can and right now there is really no pace or hold back in his game."
Starting opposite Maeda is left-hander Derek Holland, who will be making his Giants debut. A nonroster invitee to spring training, Holland won a rotation spot by striking out 23 batters in 20 innings, while delivering a 4.05 ERA in six Arizona outings.
Holland is following in the footsteps of starters Ty Blach and Johnny Cueto, who both shut down the Dodgers in the first two games. In fact, Giants pitchers have yet to allow a run this season.
The Giants have been limited on offense as well. But thanks to Joe Panik, they've done enough to win. Panik's two solo home runs have been game winners. He homered in the fifth inning Thursday off Clayton Kershaw and connected again in the ninth Friday against closer Kenley Jansen.
Panik became the first player to hit solo home runs in back-to-back games and have his team win 1-0 in each game, according to STATS Inc.
In 29 games with the White Sox last season, Holland was 7-14 with a 6.20 ERA, but his positive takeaway was the fact his 26 starts were his most in a single season since making 33 starts for the Texas Rangers in 2013.
Holland likely benefited from injuries to Madison Bumgarner (fractured finger) and Jeff Samardzija (pectoral strain) to gain a rotation spot, but he is looking at his chance in San Francisco as an opportunity earned.
"It's huge," Holland said, according to MLB.com, when he was named to the Giants' Opening Day roster. "To get this opportunity is what I was trying to do. I wanted to show people I'm not done. I'm still able to do things."
An American Leaguer his entire nine-year career, Holland has limited experience against the Dodgers, facing them just once. It was not especially memorable as he gave up four runs in five innings of the 2009 outing and took the loss.
He has never pitched at Dodger Stadium.
Updated March 31, 2018