Paul Maholm was forced into a spot start Saturday as the Los Angeles Dodgers had placed Josh Beckett on the 15-day disabled list with a hip impingement.
Although Maholm was signed in the off-season under the premise he could be the extra pitcher available to start under this circumstance, he wasn’t a lock to take the mound. In the days leading up to the game, manager Don Mattingly identified Maholm as one option and Triple-A pitcher Red Patterson as another.
Maholm wound up getting the nod and he didn’t disappoint. Making his first start since May 14, the left-hander threw six innings and allowed just two hits. The outing was drastically different than Maholm’s last start where he allowed 11 hits and 10 runs, five earned in 3.2 innings.
Following his solid night of work, Maholm mentioned his comfort level was higher knowing he would be on the mound, via Everett Cook of the LA Times:
My last start I gave up 10 runs, and I felt great in the start but it just didn’t work out. Sitting on it for two months and not knowing, coming in in relief for the first time in my career and not really being comfortable in that situation and role, today was a lot more comforting.”
Maholm then added his desire is to serve as a starting pitcher, which he said he’s expressed:
I made it known to the front office that I want to start and that’s my gig,” Maholm said. “But I signed up for this and I’ve gone down and whenever they call, they call, whether it’s to one hitter or a couple innings. I just want to pitch. It’s not an issue of anything, I just want to pitch.
Prior to this season Maholm had started all but one of his 243 game appearances. Maholm has only posted a record above .500 once in his previous nine seasons and he made a career-high 32 starts with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010.
When Clayton Kershaw was lost to the DL after his first start this season, Maholm helped fill the void in the rotation. Seven of Maholm’s first 10 appearances with the Dodgers were starts.
While Maholm’s chances to join the starting rotation have primarily come due to injuries other pitchers have suffered, more starts could be on the horizon. The Dodgers are hopeful, but uncertain when Beckett will be ready to come off the DL and Dan Haren has struggled as of late.
If Maholm is capable of putting together outings more similar to Saturday’s than his 10-run shellacking back in May, his desire to be a starter and the Dodgers’ potential need for another starting pitcher could mesh well together.
Dodgers May Get Bullpen Help From Red Sox