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Back-to-back games for Kenta Maeda? No problem, Dodgers say

October 17,2017 00:08

After recording three outs in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, Kenta Maeda did not pitch for the Dodgers on Sunday night. He was warming up as Justin Turner's game-winning homer cleared the center-field fence. Maeda has never been ...and more »


After recording three outs in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, Kenta Maeda did not pitch for the Dodgers on Sunday night. He was warming up as Justin Turner’s game-winning homer cleared the center-field fence.
Maeda has never been a reliever before this postseason, but manager Dave Roberts indicated the team was ready to use him on consecutive days, despite the right-hander’s lack of experience.
“His arm is resilient,” Roberts said. “Depending on how he’s used in a particular game, the back-to-back, we’re not concerned about.”
Maeda has retired all nine batters he has faced this postseason. The team wants to deploy him against right-handed batters; he held them to a .647 on-base plus slugging percentage during the regular season.
The addition of Maeda to the bullpen has fortified the bridge to closer Kenley Jansen.
Jansen has recorded three saves and a win while appearing in all five playoff games. Right-hander Brandon Morrow also has pitched in every game, giving up two hits and a run over 6⅓ innings.
Seager doesn’t travel
Shortstop Corey Seager has not resumed baseball activity, and his sprained lower back kept him from traveling with the team for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday.
Roberts indicated Seager has experienced “continuing improvement” since receiving a painkilling epidural injection last week. Even so, Roberts does not expect Seager to meet the team at Wrigley Field at any point over the next three games.
Seager has not been cleared to attempt activities such as running or swinging a bat.
“We’ve got to get him in a place where physically he feels like he can play in a big-league game, and endure those conditions, as far as weather,” Roberts said on a conference call with reporters before the team boarded a flight for Chicago. “To be able to come back after a game and play the next day. Right now, I wouldn’t say we’re close to that point yet.”
Seager was injured sliding into second base during Game 3 of the National League Division Series against Arizona. He was left off the roster for this round against the Cubs.
The Dodgers hope Seager can be ready if they advance to the World Series. Game 1 of the World Series is scheduled for Oct. 25.
Charlie Culberson, Seager’s replacement, has contributed in both Dodgers victories to start this series. Culberson is 2-for-5 with two doubles, a run batted in and two runs scored.
They call him A-Gon
Roberts provided a further explanation for why veteran first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has not been with the team. Roberts cited the organization’s policy that players who will not be activated, as Gonzalez would not, do not travel with the team during the postseason.
“That’s an organizational policy that he respects,” Roberts said.
TV ratings up in L.A.
TBS said Sunday’s NLCS Game 2 generated a 12.3 average household rating in the Los Angeles market, up 14% from a year ago, when the game was televised on Fox Sports 1. Game 1 was up 29%, to 11.0.
In Chicago, Game 2 had a 19.3 rating, a 19% decline from last year. The Game 1 rating was 18.1, down 14%.
The overnight Game 2 household rating among the nation’s top cities was 4.5, down 10% from last year.
Cubs’ offense is offensive
The Cubs are hitting .162 in their seven playoff games, .133 in their two NLCS games against the Dodgers.
The top batting averages belong to starting pitchers Jose Quintana and Jon Lester, who both went 1 for 2. The one hit puts them in a tie for the team lead.
The numbers 2-3-4 batters in the Cubs’ order are a combined 2 for 22, with 11 strikeouts. In Game 2, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras went 0 for 11, with seven strikeouts.
Second baseman Javier Baez is 0 for 5 in the series and 0 for 19 in the playoffs. He was co-MVP of the 2016 NLCS against the Dodgers, in which he batted .318 with four doubles and five runs batted in.
Times staff writer Mike Hiserman contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

andy.mccullough@latimes.com
Twitter: @McCulloughTimes
UPDATES:
2:38 p.m.: This article was updated with items about television ratings and the Cubs’ offense.
This article was originally published at 2:05 p.m.

Dodgers,Cubs,National League Championship Series,Kenta Maeda,Dave Roberts,Kenley Jansen,Corey Seager

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