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Examining If The Dodgers’ Pitching Staff Can Sustain Its Success



Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

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Even if Anderson remains durable, that still leaves the Dodgers relying on Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias to hold down the fort for the next four months.

Let’s start with Bolsinger.

In nine starts just one season ago, he posted a 5.50 ERA. In eight starts this season, Bolsinger has an ERA of just 2.25 — so, will the real Mike Bolsinger please stand up? A deeper look into these numbers makes things even murkier.

Consider that Bolsinger’s xFIP this season is actually higher than it was last season — meaning Bolsinger was both unlucky last season (.355 BABIP) and has probably been fairly lucky this season (5.9 percent home run/fly ball rate this season, which is well below the league average of 12 percent).

In fact, Bolsinger is actually striking out fewer batters per nine innings this season and walking more. So, I’ll ask again: which Mike Bolsinger should we expect moving forward?

The answer, of course, is something in the middle.

The numbers seem to indicate that the 2014 edition of the right-hander was incredibly unlucky — his peripherals indicate that his ERA should have been closer to 3.50-4.00. Likewise, the 2015 edition has been fairly lucky, meaning a reasonable expectation from here on out also lies somewhere in the 3.50-4.00 ERA range. And, to be fair, I think the Dodgers would be thrilled with that.

That brings us, finally, to Frias and his fascinating game log. In nine starts this season, Frias has allowed three or fewer runs seven times — the problem is, you know, that one time he allowed 10 earned runs in four innings.

All things considered, Frias has been serviceable in posting a 4.14 ERA and a WHIP of 1.51 — which, if we’re being honest, is pretty darn tolerable for a No. 5 starter. His peripherals, however, are confusing, as he has allowed a BABIP of .339 (very unlucky), and he has a K/9 and K/BB ratios of 5.30 and 1.88, respectively, both of which leave plenty to be desired.

Essentially, Frias probably deserves a little better than a 4.14 ERA, but not a much considering how few bats he misses.

So, is it sustainable?

Surprisingly, the answer is that it might just be.

If Anderson stays healthy (I know, I know, a MASSIVE “if”), I actually think Bolsinger and Frias can sustain league-average ERAs for a few months. The reality is that we all know that help is likely on the way, and if the Dodgers can get anything from Brandon Beachy, who might be back soon, or can add a proven Major-League starter, they’ll survive until the postseason.

And, well, I suppose that’s good enough for me.

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