That's 32 straight batters retired for @MBolsinger at Dodger Stadium. #whiff pic.twitter.com/YE0GOLKv4k
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 9, 2015
By Jon Weisman
Unlike his last start at Dodger Stadium, Mike Bolsinger allowed more than one hit tonight — in fact, he allowed three.
But with his seven-inning performance in the Dodgers’ 9-3 victory over Arizona, the 27-year-old righty continued to thrive at Dodger Stadium — and in fact, set a standard worth noting.
Not since Jerry Reuss in June 1982 — nearly six years before Bolsinger was born — had a Dodger pitcher retired 32 straight batters at home, the way Bolsinger did from the second batter of the first inning May 23 through the third inning tonight.
“Everything just felt smooth, from the curveball to the fastball,” said Bolsinger, who struck out eight tonight and lowered his ERA to 2.08. “Everything just felt right.”
Bolsinger, already establishing himself as about as easygoing as they come for a starting pitcher, holds no grudges against the Diamondbacks for taking him off their 40-man roster last fall and then selling him to the Dodgers for cash.
“The way I think about it, it’s probably like $5 million, $6 million, right?” Bolsinger joked.
But pressed further, Bolsinger acknowledged that he has had to make huge strides, on the field and off, to make himself a rotation regular. And though he believed in himself, even he seems a little blown away by the speed of his transformation.“If you’re saying that I saw myself in the rotation for the L.A. Dodgers, not one bit,” Bolsinger said, noting that negative feelings were hard for him to escape in Arizona.
“It was more to do with me,” he added. “I went up there with a bad mentality … having a bad start and you think to yourself, ‘If I pitch bad, I’m gonna get sent down.’ You can’t go up there thinking like that.
“The game in Colorado last week (when he took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth, only to allow a three-run home run), I thought that was a good game until the last inning, but my mentality was, ‘I’m gonna come back out and pitch good the next outing.’ And (today), it went well. It’s crazy to see how much I’ve kind of grown up from one year just mentally in this ballgame. It’s crazy — my mentality is so different than last year.”
And yet, for all that growth, Bolsinger sees how much farther there is for him to go.
“Honestly, I think there’s another level in there,” he said. “I’ve just got to keep working hard. Obviously, working with (Rick) Honeycutt has been tremendous. If I look at video from last year (of) me pitching and this year, it’s completely different. Not only mentally having that feel for all your pitches, but mechanically. He saw some stuff that he thought I could improve on. I mean, this was stuff we did three days ago. I even threw a short little bullpen yesterday, just to apply it … and it went well. I was really pleased with everything, everything just seemed really smooth.
“You watch (Zack) Greinke pitch, and you see how smooth he is when he’s out there throwing a baseball. I really want to look like that. The way his mechanics (are) and everything, it’s fun to watch.”
And while Bolsinger has no chip on his shoulder when it comes to what happened with the Diamondbacks — that shoulder being too occupied with carrying his own burdens — he does come to the mound with some fire.
“I want to prove everyone wrong,” Bolsinger said. “A lot of people didn’t think I could be in this situation. They thought I’d come up here and have a start, do OK and be (sent) back down. Some people are also saying, ‘He’s having a good couple of starts — when’s he gonna explode?’ I think now (the goal) is just keep doing well, game after game. … I’m not out there to prove a single person wrong — let me prove everyone wrong.”
I love watching this guy pitch! Easy motion, great breaking stuff, not a great fastball. Reminds me of Greg Maddox. Had a few walks last night but it didn’t hurt him with a 9 run lead. Good attitude and lets everyone know how much Honeycutt means to the Dodgers. Nice article.
If Bolsinger can keep this up, we’ll have some nice games ahead.