2012 was filled with many surprises for the Dodgers. From the new ownership group, to the blockbuster trades, it was a roller-coaster season. One surprise that Dodger fans didn’t see coming was the production from rookie Stephen Fife.
The Dodgers called him up from the Minor Leagues in July to replace Chad Billingsley after he went down with an injury.
In his first outing, Fife made his Major League debut against the Philadelphia Phillies.
No one knew what to expect out of this young right-hander, but he certainly silenced any critics he had.
He hurled six strong innings, allowing just a run on four hits. Unfortunately, the lack of run support caused him to receive a no-decision.
After making a strong first impression with the Dodgers, they sent Fife back down to Triple A.
It wouldn’t take long for him to be called back up, however. The Dodgers ended up trading Nathan Eovaldi to the Marlins, which brought Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate to the Dodgers.
Now short starter, they decided to bring back Fife.
In his second start, Fife pitched against the Giants in a big game in San Francisco.
Again, many people questioned if he can come up big once again, and that he did. He hurled six more strong innings, pitching into the 7th inning and only allowing one run on six hits. He received another no-decision as the Dodgers fought into extra innings and came up with the win on Hanley Ramirez’s home run in the 10th inning.
Many people were starting to like what they saw in Fife.
In the following start, Fife pitched against the Diamondbacks. This time he allowed two runs, and only lasted 4.1 innings as his pitch count rose high. Fife wound up suffering the loss.
After that, he was sent back down to the minors as the Dodgers acquired Joe Blanton from the Phillies.
Fife returned in September, making two more starts, in which he allowed two runs in five innings pitched in both.
He finished the season 0-2.
In five starts, Fife didn’t pitch bad.
He had tremendous games, which surprised many fans. He showed that he had the ability to compete in the Major Leagues and help the Dodgers win games.
Even though there may be no room for him in the starting rotation, the Dodgers could look to put him in the bullpen. That could be a very helpful arm to help the ball club close out games.
Fife certainly pitched greater than he was expected to last season, and he could be very valuable to this Dodgers team in the future.