For Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Mike Bolsinger, he has to find a way to get Major League hitters out with a fastball that tops out in the low-90s.
This season, he’s used his offspeed pitches to get those outs, especially his curveball. Bolsinger has reduced his fastball use by over 20 percent from last season, relying on a slider that he throws 17 percent of the time and a curveball that he throws nearly 40 percent of the time. It’s worked to the tune of a 5-3 record with a 2.79 ERA, including seven innings with no earned runs (one unearned run) in Wednesday’s victory against the Atlanta Braves.
The Braves seemed to have taken issue with the amount of curveballs Bolsinger was throwing, chirping at him in the seventh inning after a 3-0 and 3-1 curveball to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Bolsinger ended up walking the veteran catcher and was seen responding to him and the Braves in that inning. The right-hander ended up getting the third out and finishing his seven strong innings.
According to Carlos Collazo of MLB.com, Bolsinger discussed how he responded to the whole situation:
“It’s baseball, it’s fun,” Bolsinger said. “You just have to keep a smile on your face and that’s what I did, just had a smile on my face, got the next out and got out of the inning.”
Bolsinger also talked about his thought process when pitching, where worrying about the opposing hitters’ feelings isn’t a factor:
“If you’re showing me you’re not hitting a pitch, why would I go to something else?” Bolsinger said. “That’s baseball. If you show me you’re not doing something, I’m going to keep attacking your weaknesses.”
In the end, the Dodgers got a much-needed win and Bolsinger gave the team a much-needed strong outing after the bullpen was forced to throw multiple innings the past two nights. Bolsinger’s next start is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics, but with a day off on Monday, the Dodgers could shuffle the rotation.