Strange as it might seem, the Los Angeles Dodgers may shudder to think where they would be without the services of Mike Bolsinger. The pitcher they acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in November for mere cash considerations has stepped in and helped fill the void left in the starting rotation by season-ending injuries to Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
After making a spot start April 23 in San Francisco, Bolsinger was recalled May 12 and pitched well enough to establish himself as a fixture in the rotation. He’s 3-0 with a 0.71 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and has an 18.2 scoreless innings streak over his last three outings.
Bolsinger next takes the mound Friday night at Busch Stadium as the Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals meet for the first time since Game 4 of the 2014 National League Division Series. While the right-hander wasn’t part of that Dodgers’ team, he holds a disdain for the Cardinals that dates back to his childhood, according to Steve Bourbon of MLB.com:
I grew up a Cubs fan. Growing up, we didn’t like the Cardinals,” said Bolsinger, whose family is from Gurnee, Ill. “Obviously there’s a bit of a rivalry here with what they did to the Dodgers last year, so hopefully we can go in there and stay hot.”
While Bolsinger credits the Cardinals, who have the best record in the Majors at 31-16 for being a strong team, he believes he holds an advantage over them:
I know St. Louis is a tough team. The advantage for me is that they haven’t seen me,” Bolsinger said. “You go up and down that lineup, one through nine — even [pitcher John] Lackey — can really hit.”
The now-27 year old appeared in 10 games (nine starts) last season with the Diamondbacks and faced NL West competition in five of the outings. The closest he got to the Cardinals were games against the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs.
Bolsinger is starting opposite veteran John Lackey, who is 2-3 with a 3.18 ERA in nine starts. The Dodger right-hander looks to get the series started off on a high note for his club that won’t have the luxury of sending Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw to the mound in the three-game weekend series.