Dodgers' rotation needs a bit of a turnaround

Jimmy Rollins smiled when he was asked whether he has spoken to Cole Hamels about pitching for the Dodgers.

"Maybe," Rollins said, "maybe not."

The question was bound to be asked.

Rollins' former team, Philadelphia, was at Dodger Stadium for the start of a four-game series. The Phillies have the worst record in baseball and should be sellers leading up to the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline. The Dodgers are in search of starting pitching, the reasons for which were obvious in a so-called "bullpen game" Monday night in which they prevailed, 10-7.

Could the Dodgers add Hamels to a rotation that already includes Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke?

"That would be nice," Rollins said.

"Two big-game pitchers are already here. That would be three."

Considering the expected cost for Hamels — not only the $70.5 million the three-time All-Star is owed over the next three seasons, but also the prospects that would have to be sent to the Phillies in return — the Dodgers are likely to explore considerably more modest options as well.

At this point, the addition of any pitcher capable of holding a place in the rotation would count as an upgrade.

With Carlos Frias placed on the disabled list the previous day and unable to take his turn in the rotation Monday, the Dodgers started reliever Yimi Garcia.

Garcia threw a season-high 43 pitches over two innings, in which he was charged with two runs and four hits. He departed with a 3-2 lead, but that advantage soon vanished.

Garcia's replacement on the mound, left-hander Eric Surkamp, was promoted from triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday.

Surkamp was charged with four runs and four hits over 31/3 innings.

Surkamp, 27, was acquired in a trade with the Chicago White Sox on May 22. He pitched in 42 games for the White Sox last season, when he posted a 4.81 earned-run average. He pitched in 18 games in triple A this season, seven of them as a starting pitcher.

On this day, he knew he would be pitching as a long reliever.

"I've never really been a long guy at the major league level," Surkamp said.

But he wasn't complaining.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity," he said.

Surkamp entered the game in the third inning and promptly served up a three-run home run to Ryan Howard that moved the Phillies in front, 5-3. Surkamp gave up another run in the fourth, this time on a home run by Odubel Herrera.

The problems with the back of the rotation were foreseeable.

The Dodgers went into spring training with a rotation that was expected to include Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson, three pitchers with histories of arm trouble.

Anderson remains healthy and is pitching well — he will enter his start Tuesday with a 3.00 ERA — but Ryu and McCarthy were lost to season-ending operations, prompting the Dodgers to turn to Frias and Mike Bolsinger.

Frias has pitched 51/3 or fewer innings in each of his last four starts. Bolsinger has pitched five or fewer innings in four of his last five.

The loss of Frias has only worsened the situation.

With Frias ineligible to return from the disabled list until after the All-Star break, the Dodgers will have to find a way to replace him for at least one more start.

Rather than asking a group of relievers to get them through another game, the Dodgers could activate Brandon Beachy, a reclamation project they signed in the spring.

Beachy, who is recovering from his second reconstructive elbow operation, pitched in his fifth game of a minor league rehabilitation assignment Monday night. The former Atlanta Braves starter lasted a season-high six innings. He was charged with five runs, of which three were earned.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

Twitter: @dylanohernandez

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
60°