Because of injuries in the starting rotation last year, the Los Angeles Dodgers needed to rely on multiple inexperienced pitchers to keep their rotation afloat for much of the season.
After a couple of good audition starts, Mike Bolsinger earned what seemed to be a permanent spot in the rotation. He had a very successful month of May, going 3-1 with a 1.05 ERA in four starts (25.2 innings pitched).
He slowed a bit in June and July, but was still effective (4.40 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in June, and 3.00 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in July).
After a three-team trade at the trade deadline with the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins, the Dodgers added two starters, Mat Latos and Alex Wood, which bumped Bolsinger back to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Bolsinger rejoined the Dodgers once active rosters expanded in September. However, he struggled over the final month of the regular season, going 1-3 with a 7.08 ERA, 8.35 FIP and 1.91 WHIP, while allowing eight home runs in five starts (20.1 innings pitched).
According to Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider, Bolsinger attributed some of the struggles to his curveball losing its effectiveness:
“If you look at what my curveball was at the beginning of the year to what my curveball was at the end of the year, it didn’t have that life in it and that tumble. I don’t think my arm had that life in it.”
The right-hander added he’s using the poor September performance as motivation entering the 2016 season:
“Having that last month in September really left a bad taste in my mouth. I definitely didn’t want to be remembered as that guy, and unfortunately that is what I was remembered for, and all the other good stuff was kind of put on the back shelf. I really wanted to change — just start a new slate. It really has (motivated me).”
The 28 year old finds himself battling with Brandon Beachy, Carlos Frias and Zach Lee, among others, for a spot in the Dodgers’ rotation after left-hander Brett Anderson required arthroscopic back surgery for a bulging disk.
Bolsinger has made two relief appearances during Spring Training, allowing a combined two runs, walking two and collecting four strikeouts over five innings pitched.