Still feeling the bitter sting of being swept in San Francisco, the Dodgers looked to rebuild their self-esteem with a second-straight win over the visiting San Diego Padres tonight before a capacity crowd at Dodger Stadium. The surprising Mike Bolsinger took the mound opposite former Diamondback troublemaker Ian Kennedy. I say surprising because Bolsinger was called up from triple-A Oklahoma City for a spot start a few weeks back and has since earned a well-earned role in the rotation by going 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA in his first three starts. If he keeps pitching like this we will need to stop referring to his success as surprising and begin referring to it as expected. On Saturday night, Mr. Bolsinger raised the bar even higher.
Padres 0 1 0
Dodgers 2 6 0
Bolsinger (W) Kennedy (L) Jansen (S) Pederson (HR)
Mike Bolsinger’s pitching can be a thing of beauty at times. He has no overpowering speed. He rarely hits 90 mph. He typically lives in the low 80s and is not averse to dropping down into the 70s. What makes him so difficult to pick up is his superb control of his breaking pitches and his ability to live so efficiently on the corners. He is also doing well by keeping his pitches low. When hitters do make contact with one of his breaking balls it usually ends up being a safe ground out to one of the middle infielders.
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Through his 8 innings of work, Bolsinger gave up just one hit and rung up 8 strikeouts. After surrendering a lead off single to Yangervis Solarte, Bolsinger retired the next 23 Padres in a row in what might the best performance by a Dodgers pitcher so far this season.
On the offensive side of things, Joc Pederson led off the Dodger first tonight with a solo shot to right-center, grabbing the Dodgers an early 1-0 lead. The center fielder also helped win the first game of the series last night with a solo shot in the 8th inning.
After the first, both pitchers locked down for the next few innings, dealing like masters, moving the game along at a brisk pace. After two quick outs in the 6th, Adrian Gonzalez hit an innocuous single to Justin Upton in left to keep the inning alive. Justin Turner then doubled to the left-center gap. Upton, on call again, had trouble fielding the ball cleanly off the wall, giving Gonzalez a wide enough window to score all the way from first, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. This would be more than enough for Bolsinger to complete his work.
Ian Kennedy completed 6 innings, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits. It was a strong performance by any standard. Unfortunately for Kennedy, he was out-dueled by the Bolsinger freight train that right now knows no bounds.
Kevin Quackenbush (one of the best names in baseball) took over on the Padres mound in the 7th inning and Frank Garces pitched the 8th. Both relievers held their own, giving the Dodgers nothing, but the Dodgers wouldn’t need anything else on this night.
Kenley Jansen took over for Bolsinger in the 9th and here’s a quick rundown of how that went: three up, three down. One strikeout, one pop out, and one desperation bunt attempt by Abraham Almonte that ended in utter failure.
Call to the Pen
After being swept for the second time by the Giants, the Dodgers were one of the worst teams in baseball in low-scoring games. They had only won 4 games where they scored 4 runs or less. Now they have won two in a row. Granted it’s only two and it’s only the Padres, but it’s a start. Sometimes the experience of a good beat down can help bring forth a new perspective on life. Let’s hope the Dodgers have turned a corner. As of now, one of the men leading this new style of winning is the surprising (or maybe not so surprising) Mike Bolsinger.