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Dodgers Midseason Report Card: Starting Rotation Finds A Way



Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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One of the biggest strengths for the Los Angeles Dodgers heading into the 2015 season was supposed to be their starting rotation. Led by aces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, and then followed by one of the best third starters in the game Hyun-Jin Ryu and newcomers Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson.

But then injuries happened. Ryu did not even make one start as he was lost for the season with a shoulder injury and McCarthy made just four starts before being lost for the season requiring Tommy John surgery.

The Dodgers tried out many minor league guys to try and fill out the rotation, before settling in on Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias at the beginning of May.

Bolsinger and Frias have stepped up in a big way, helping the Dodgers having a 51-39 record and 4.5 game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL West. Now that the All-Star break has come and gone, lets take a look at how each starter has done this season.

INCOMPLETES:

Hyun-Jin Ryu
The left-hander went down in Spring Training with shoulder issues that eventually led to surgery that will keep him out until next spring. He was expected to be the Dodgers third starter and improve on his first two years in the big leagues. Ryu will have to work to get back to form in 2016.

Brandon McCarthy
McCarthy was signed to a four-year, $48 million deal this offseason and was supposed to give the Dodgers a formidable quartet in the rotation. The right-hander made four starts before tearing his UCL and undergoing Tommy John surgery. In those four starts, McCarthy racked up plenty of strikeouts, but struggled with the long ball. He had a 5.87 ERA, but was 3-0.

Brandon Beachy
The Dodgers signed Beachy to a two-year deal this offseason, knowing that he was recovering from a second Tommy John surgery. Beachy has worked his way back and made his first start since 2013 just before the All-Star break. The 28-year-old struggled a bit in four innings, but should get better with more starts. He likely takes a spot in the rotation in the second half.

Mike Bolsinger:

2015 Stats: 4-3, 13 GS, 73 IP, 3.08 ERA, 69 K, 1.25 WHIP.
Advanced Stats: 2.79 FIP, 120 ERA+, 8.5 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.6 WAR.

The Dodgers acquired Bolsinger from the Arizona Diamondbacks last November with absolutely no expectations of him being in the starting rotation this season. He pitched well in a spot start in April giving up one run in six innings before earning a full-time spot in the rotation by being almost unhittable in May. He gave up three earned runs in 25.2 innings in the month of May. He then began to struggle a bit in June, yielding a 4.40 ERA in six starts.

Despite his recent struggles, Bolsinger has not missed a start since being added to the rotation in May. While he has struggled to go deep into games, he has given the Dodgers the starting pitching depth they desperately needed. He will benefit by pitching in between Kershaw and Greinke in the second half of the season, and as of now his spot in the rotation for the rest of the season is his to lose.

Grade: B

Carlos Frias:

2015 Stats: 5-5, 14 GP (12 GS), 69.2 IP, 4.39 ERA, 40 K, 1.55 WHIP.
Advanced Stats: 4.21 FIP, 84 ERA+, 5.2 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 0 WAR.

The Dodgers signed the Dominican Republic native in 2007 as a 17-year-old with very high expectations for his future. While things haven’t always gone as planned with him, he is now 25 and in the Dodgers starting rotation. Frias has a long way to go if he wants to be a premier starter in the Major Leagues. He has an electric fastball, but he needs to develop his off-speed pitches to be more effective. Right now all he throws is hard and harder.

Frias has had an up-and-down season up to this point. He has five starts where he’s given up one earned run or less, but he also gave up a Dodger record 10 runs in a May start against the San Diego Padres. Frias was recently put on the disabled list with back problems, although he is not required to miss much more time. With the recent return of Brandon Beachy and the possibility of the Dodgers trading for a starter before the July 31 trade deadline, Frias will probably end up back in Triple-A for the remainder of this season to work on his craft. He has filled in admirably for the injured starters though.

Grade: C+

CONTINUE READING: The Top of the Rotation Lives Up To Its Name

Written by Staff Writer

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