For the first couple weeks this season, Joe Wieland and the rest of the pitchers at triple-A Oklahoma City found it hard to find a rhythm. Throw days were interrupted by promotions. Players were called up, then optioned back down.
It was hard to tell who would be next, or where your next start might be.
"Obviously, it's been a revolving door," said Wieland, the Dodgers' latest starter.
Wieland got off to a shaky start and the Dodgers lost, 6-3, to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday.
The Dodgers have had nine starters in 27 games, the most in the major leagues. The league average is slightly more than six.
There has been a spot start from a reliever, Carlos Frias, and callups of Scott Baker, Mike Bolsinger and David Huff. All three were demoted. Baker was the only pitcher who lasted more than one start.
So far, the Dodgers have weathered the volatility. They are 3-3 under the patchwork of starters and would be happy to remain at .500 in those games. But stability is not in sight.
On Wednesday, Manager Don Mattingly said Hyun-Jin Ryu's shoulder rehabilitation has stalled after a disconcerting throwing session Friday. Ryu threw his fastball at about 82 to 83 mph, Mattingly said, about 8 mph lower than what he threw last season.
The team has opted to give Ryu extra rest, and he has not thrown since. Mattingly said he didn't yet have cause for great alarm, but said he is "always concerned with these guys every time they have to slow down. But I was concerned with Zack [Greinke] in spring training, and obviously I shouldn't have been."
Ryu hasn't pitched this season and Monday the team moved him to the 60-day disabled list. He won't be eligible to return until May 26, although Mattingly did not project a return until June.
With Ryu sidelined, and Brandon McCarthy out for the season after reconstructive elbow surgery, the Dodgers must plug two rotation spots for the foreseeable future.
Frias will pitch Thursday. He threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings in his first start.
The Dodgers would still need help from the minor leagues, where the schedule has been frenetic. Wieland said the team has adapted, and he wasn't complaining, but he described a harried experience.
"You show up to the park when you're supposed to be on a flight because you're starting the next day in Oklahoma City — just kidding you're starting today," Wieland said. "It is, as a starter, it is frustrating because it's all a routine."
Mattingly said routine is important, but he stressed that flexibility is essential in a young player. Moving forward, he said the team could settle on a long-term option.
"There have been guys that have come up and thrown the ball well, but it didn't matter how good they threw the ball at that point, they were going to go back down," Mattingly said. "That was part of what we were doing with our roster at that point. Now, we're getting to the point where somebody could that takes hold of that spot has a better chance of hanging."
Wednesday was Wieland's scheduled start day, and he received two-days' notice, so those weren't a factor in his outing, he said. He gave up two two-run home runs before recording an out, and he gave up another run before escaping the first inning. Afterward, he settled in, and at one point retired seven batters in a row.
He gave up six runs in 4 2/3 innings, but he saved the bullpen.
Was that enough to stick around?
"No idea," Wieland said. "It's not something I'm thinking about."