But after Frias gave up six runs in less than six innings Saturday in the Dodgers’ latest loss to the Giants – they’re now 2-9 against their northern rivals – his struggle is looking more like a trend than an anomaly.
After starting the season 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA in his first six appearances (four starts), he has gone 1-4 with a 6.17 ERA in his last six.
Frias is somewhat of a frustrating pitcher. He almost never is completely awful, just not good enough. He still lights up the radar gun and the Dodgers remain impressed with his stuff.
His results, however, are something else. And you have to wonder how long the Dodgers will continue to call on Frias every fifth start before going to someone else, or more significantly, making a deal to bring in another starter.
Certainly Frias was not helped by the Dodgers’ offense and defense Saturday.
He started his trouble by hitting the game’s leadoff batter, Nori Aoki, on the lower left leg. Joe Panik doubled Aoki to third, the left-fielder running gingerly. Angel Pagan’s fly to center was deep, sacrificing Aoki home and advancing Panik to third. Buster Posey flied out to medium right, but Yasiel Puig’s throw was well off the line as Panik scored.
Aoki left the game after the top of the first with what the Giants called a left leg contusion.
The Dodgers, however, got both runs back quickly when Joc Pederson and Justin Turner hit back-to-back homers off San Francisco’s Tim Hudson in the bottom of the first. For Pederson it was his first home run since June 3, the last of his five consecutive homers in as many games, and 18th on the season.
But the rest was all Giants, again.
They regained the lead with two outs in the fifth. Frias had retired 11 consecutive batters when he gave up a two-out single to Hudson. Justin Maxwell, who had replaced Aoki, then delivered a two-run homer.
The Giants added two more on a walk and a two-run homer by Brandon Belt in the sixth. Puig had trouble tracking the ball in the sun, belatedly going all the way to the wall and making an awkward stab at the drive. He missed and it landed on the padding atop the outfield wall and bounced over for the home run.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ lack of offense continued. They managed only four hits after the first inning. Hudson, who came into the game 4-6 with a 4.65 ERA, went 6 1/3 innings, allowing the two runs on six hits and two walks.
Frias was charged with six runs in his 5 1/3 innings, on six hits, a walk and two hit-batters.
For the Giants, the victory pulled them within a half-game of the Dodgers in the National League West. The Dodgers have lost five of their last six.