Dodgers could be nearing end of rotation juggling routine

Dodgers could be nearing end of rotation juggling routine
Mike Bolsinger impressed Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly on Tuesday night against Miami. (Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

The Dodgers need to either stop this constant shuttle between LAX and Oklahoma City or buy an airline. Even the most highly paid team in history has limits.

It’s just possible – possible, I say – the Dodgers are beginning to reach theirs. The majority of these constant call-ups from triple-A Oklahoma City have been to fill that gap in the rotation created by Hyun-Jin Ryu’s absence, and now Brandon McCarthy’s.

Five different pitchers have made eight spot starts for the Dodgers, and they've only played 32 games. The Dodgers have mostly gotten away with this juggling act, but it's put a strain on pitchers' routines, if not performances.

But Manager Don Mattingly implied before Tuesday’s game the Dodgers are starting to feel like they’ve relied on this rotating rotation long enough. For now, Carlos Frias (3-0, 2.13 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) appears to have temporary custody of one spot in the rotation.

And after right-hander Mike Bolsinger went almost six innings Tuesday and held the Marlins to one run – albeit a jaw-dropping solo homer by Giancarlo Stanton – Mattingly said he, too, had earned another start.

"I would think so," Mattingly said. "Mike threw the ball well. We still have a little bit of wiggle room, but we're getting to the point where we have to settle in and get on track with our five guys."

The two right-handers bring a very different styles to the mound. Frias lights up the radar gun and can consistently hit 96-97 mph. Bolsinger is a curveball specialist whose fastball topped out at 88 mph Tuesday.

But the Dodgers couldn't care less how it gets done, only that their starting pitcher keeps them in the game -- whether it's by Frias' heat or Bolsinger's spin.


"If we can get guys who can keep us in the game and give us a chance to win, that's really what you ask out of every guy," Mattingly said. "It's really no different with Mike than it would be with Clayton [Kershaw] or Zack [Greinke].

"You ask them to keep you in the game, give your team a chance to win, and that's what [Bolsinger] did tonight. If we can get that type of performance up and down our rotation, than each night you feel like you're in the game and have a chance."

Mattingly would clearly like to add stability to his rotation. And if a rotation with Frias and Bolsinger was hardly what the Dodgers had in mind when they went to camp, it may offer their best alternative at the moment.

A trade is still very much a possibility, but in the meantime there's only so much shuttling a team can do and consistently expect results. And in truth, airlines are a pricey business to operate.