Add Mike Bolsinger to the group of new Dodger pitchers who knew Clayton Kershaw when.
Like Brett Anderson, Bolsinger’s knowledge of Kershaw dates back to their high school playing days.
Bolsinger, a righthander who turned 27 on Thursday and is seven weeks older than Kershaw, played on the McKinney High School team that topped Kershaw’s Highland Park High team for the 2006 state title in Texas.
Bolsinger recalled during a chat at FanFest today that under the tournament rules, there was a coin toss to determine whether the championship showdown would be a single game or a three-game series. McKinney won the coin toss, and wisely chose to go for the longer series rather than do-or-die against Kershaw, who went undefeated in his senior season.
“He pitched the first game and won,” Bolsinger said, “and we won the next two.”
Nearly nine years later, following his November acquisition from Arizona, Bolsinger now joins Kershaw in hoping to take a team to a title. He and fellow new acquisition Joe Wieland will add to the in-house depth in the starting rotation.
Bolsinger made his MLB debut in April, and in his second start, shut out the Dodgers for three innings before giving up the lead in the next two. Experiences like that have taught him well, Bolsinger said, and underscored the difference between the Majors and the minors.
“Certain things you can’t get away with in a big-league game,” Bolsinger said. “When you’re behind in the count, you just can’t throw a fastball down the middle. You have to be able to throw a breaking ball for a strike.”
Bolsinger’s 2014 season peaked in June, when he made three consecutive quality starts with a 2.70 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 20 innings against 21 baserunners. He finished 2014 with a 3.93 ERA in Triple-A and 5.50 ERA (4.01 FIP) in the Majors.
He comes from a family of baseball fans, and said his parents keep track of his statistics better than he does.
“They usually let me know how I’m doing,” Bolsinger said.