Mike Bolsinger went 1-6 with a 5.50 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season, which was his first experience in the Majors. He was designated for assignment in November and soon after traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations.
Bolsinger appeared destined for a spot in the club’s Triple-A rotation, but now six weeks into the regular season he’s become an integral part of the Dodgers’ pitching staff. After striking out six over six shutout innings, Bolsinger detailed a change made to his warm-up routine that’s led to better results.
Rather than simply throwing in the bullpen to get loose, Bolsinger warms up with the game plan in mind and envisions facing the batters he’ll see once play begins. “I’m basically throwing the first inning in there,” he said. “It helps me concentrate a lot more.”
As a pitcher who doesn’t have a fastball that lights up the radar gun, Bolsinger relies on movement and location, similar to an ex-Dodger pitcher. “Look at Dan Haren,” he said. “He doesn’t throw hard at all, like me.
“But somehow he gets outs. Sometimes it’s not all about velocity. It’s about movement and location, and he’s done that really well over his whole career. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
After Bolsinger’s May 12 outing Dodgers manager Don Mattingly indicated the right-hander had earned another start. He echoed a similar sentiment after Bolsinger quieted the Rockies. “This is an opportunity for him,” Mattingly said.
“He’s pitched good three times now. All the games have been similar. He’s effective, he’s not in trouble all the time.” Mattingly’s assessment of the 27 year old also falls in line with Bolsinger’s view of himself. “Mike is a finesse guy,” Mattingly said. “He’s a guy who can really spin a breaking ball and he can do a lot with it.”
For now Bolsinger appears to have cemented a role as the Dodgers’ fifth starter, even if his approach is unlike most others. “I’m a backwards pitcher,” said Bolsinger. “I’m not going to start you off with a fastball, but I may try and finish you with one.”