Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dodgers getting everything they can out of Bolsinger

Let's give Mike Bolsinger lots of credit here: there were never any expectations for him in the 2015 season.  He was merely an additional arm brought in from the Diamondbacks to possibly make some spot starts.

Instead, season-ending injuries to Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy have thrust him right into the rotation, and through 10 games, he's responded very well: 4-2, 2.95 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 55 K's in 58 IP.

Wednesday night was his latest start, and he held the Cubs to two runs over 4 2/3 innings, just missing going the required five innings to pick up the win in the Dodgers' 5-2 victory.  He literally was a Kris Bryant walk away from getting through five.  But who the heck can blame him for walking that guy, right?

The obvious question is how long Bolsinger can keep up such a good pace, especially considering in nine starts last year with the D-Backs, he went 1-6 with a 5.50 ERA and 1.59 WHIP.  He's a much better pitcher now, but probably not THAT much better to have a sub-3.00 ERA and a 1.3 WAR.

Andrew Friedman has made no secret of the fact that he wants to upgrade the starting pitching, and rightfully so.  Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke anchor the top two spots, and even if Kershaw is having home run problems, you still feel great about rolling those two out in the first two games of any series.  Brett Anderson has held up so far (3-4, 3.29, 1.33), but we all know that it's a huge IF that he can continue to make his scheduled starts without breaking down.

That brings us to the back end of the rotation, where Carlos Frias and Bolsinger have combined to make 20 starts.  Frias hasn't been as good, going 4-5 with a 4.68 ERA and 1.47 WHIP, but his major problem is that he's either brilliant or completely horrible.  At least some of his starts have given the Dodgers a chance to win.

In watching the ESPN broadcast on Wednesday, they made a big deal about Bolsinger's inability to get hitters out after he gets through the order once.  His BAA actually skyrockets after two times through, and with that in mind, Don Mattingly had no choice but to yank him in the fifth inning at 87 pitches.  That's a pretty big concern going forward.

At 40-33, the Dodgers have played 45% of their games with basically 40% of their rotation being out (McCarthy only made four starts before being shelved).  Even though the offense has gone into a huge dry spell in June, when you look at this team in-depth, it's no wonder why they want to get more starting pitching in the fold.  Relying on Anderson, Bolsinger, and Frias over and over isn't the most realistic way of winning a division in the long run.

With all of that said, Bolsinger still deserves a ton of credit for positing the numbers he has, despite some flaws.  A regression in the future might, and probably will, happen, but that doesn't change the fact that he's stepped up big time when the Dodgers needed him to fill lots of inning.  Good for him.

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