Roberts says offense is pushing too hard

Maeda's quality start goes to waste when bats go quiet

Roberts says offense is pushing too hard

LOS ANGELES -- With one hit in a loss a week ago Monday, one hit in a loss this past Monday and four hits in a loss Wednesday night to the Rockies, the Dodgers' offense is putting manager Dave Roberts on the defensive.

Kenta Maeda (5-4, 2.70) struck out a season-high nine and allowed one run to the Rockies, but was beaten in the rubber game of the three-game series anyway, 1-0.

"Kenta threw the ball great," said Roberts. "To go six-plus, punch out nine, give up one run -- we've got to win that game. We've got to win that game. You still got to score to win. He did everything he possibly could. We had a chance to win the game. To lose a series like that, it's tough."

Maeda strikes out nine

Colorado botched a simple bunt play, two fielders standing on first base to take a throw and neither recording an out, but the Dodgers left the bases loaded in that fifth-inning opportunity and didn't get another runner past first base.

With a day off on Thursday, a showdown series with the Giants beginning on Friday and Colorado starting left-hander Chris Rusin Wednesday night, Roberts didn't start Corey Seager, Chase Utley, Joc Pederson or Yasmani Grandal, although they all pinch-hit. The batting order had only two players (Adrian Gonzalez and Trayce Thompson) with an average higher than .225.

"Guys are starting to try to do too much," said Roberts. "There's some empty at-bats, and tentativeness to the swing in a good hitter's count. We're missing fastballs, and whether we're swinging through or fouling them off or late on them, we're putting a little bit of extra pressure on ourselves."

And with no run support, there was no margin for error for Maeda, who allowed a one-out double to Gerardo Parra in the seventh inning, then got Nick Hundley on a fly out for the second out and Roberts went to the mound. Left-handed reliever Adam Liberatore thought that meant a pitching change and came halfway from the bullpen to the mound before being sent back, as Roberts instead decided after speaking with Maeda to leave him in.

Confusion in the Dodgers' pen

"I was going to take him out," said Roberts. "But just where he's at, 96 pitches and throwing the ball great, I wanted to get a feel of how he felt. They were going to make a move and I have to decide if Kenta can get [Daniel] Descalso. At that time, I felt that he could get him out."

Roberts said if he had brought in the left-handed Liberatore, Colorado would have countered with either Mark Reynolds or Trevor Story, both right-handers.

"And so, he threw a breaking ball, maybe a little elevated and he got a soft liner to center field and got a base hit," said Roberts. "So, if he takes soft contact, I'll bet against soft contact and get an out. I'll take that matchup with Kenta throwing the way he did."

The Dodgers got 2 1/3 more scoreless innings from the bullpen. Liberatore took over after Descalso's single and retired Cristhian Adames, followed by innings from Casey Fien and Pedro Baez.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.