Carlos Frias hung his head and walked slowly off the mound toward the Dodgers' dugout. After each outing — and before Sunday he'd had four very useful starts — Frias pounds his chest and points to the sky. But this day, even that ritual seemed half-hearted.
About 19 hours earlier, Mike Bolsinger had made the same walk with considerably more vigor. Bolsinger, one-half of a makeshift back end of the Dodgers' rotation, had pitched eight scoreless innings Saturday night in a 2-0 victory over San Diego.
Frias, the other half, did not pitch a scoreless first inning , or second, or third on Sunday in an 11-3 loss to the Padres. In fact, he was down 4-0 before even recording an out, allowing the first three batters of the game to reach base and then surrendering a grand slam to Justin Upton. In all, he gave up 10 runs, 12 hits and two walks in four innings. He had no strikeouts, and his earned-run average exploded from 2.55 to 5.34.
"It wasn't my best day today," Frias said.
For now, the Dodgers are living through the booms and the busts that come with two starters the team hadn't planned on using.
Andrew Friedman, the president of baseball operations, has said he is searching for starting pitching, but he indicated a move is not coming immediately. That means more Bolsinger and Frias for the time being.
Often, that has been enough, but on Sunday it represented a new low for the Dodgers, in several ways. Frias tied a dubious record: most runs yielded by a Dodgers pitcher since the team moved to Los Angeles. Brad Penny also gave up 10 in a 2008 game.
The Dodgers had scored just five runs in the week preceding Sunday's game. Upton drove in six in the first two innings Sunday.
The eight-run loss was the Dodgers' most lopsided of the season. Yet they remain in first place, two games ahead of San Francisco in the NL West, despite going just 4-6 in their last 10 games.
Manager Don Mattingly indicated Frias' standing with the team wouldn't be decided by Sunday's implosion.
"We can't make decision based on — that can happen to anybody," Mattingly said.
Frias, he said, just could not recover from the disastrous start. Hitters were not fooled. His command was off. Each pitch became an invitation.
Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt visited the mound in the first inning, and Mattingly visited in the second, but they decided to allow Frias to clean up his mess.
After the game, Frias appeared frustrated but unfazed.
"That's part of the game," Frias said. "That happens to anyone. So I'm just going to get ready for my next opportunity."
The weekend's contrasting starts were typical of the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation. With Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu out for the season, the Dodgers have had to scramble.
There have been forgettable outings from David Huff and Joe Wieland and a mixed bag from Scott Baker. Eventually the team settled on Bolsinger and Frias. Bolsinger has been lights out in four starts, and Frias was not far behind.
After the game, Vin Scully recounted the story of Burleigh "Ol' Stubblebeard" Grimes, who pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers for nine years from 1918-26. Grimes had a bad habit of throwing 10-run games — nine in a 19-year career. Yet he ended up in the Hall of Fame.
So with a few more outings like Sunday's, Scully reasoned, Frias could be headed for Cooperstown.
Follow Zach Helfand on Twitter @zhelfand