Wieland struggles with fastball in first outing
Dodgers continue to search for rotation solutions
MILWAUKEE -- With Brandon McCarthy out for the year and nothing good to report on the injured Hyun-Jin Ryu, a Dodgers starting rotation with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke has real issues.
More evidence was provided Wednesday night, when Joe Wieland's tryout set off the Miller Park fireworks machine. After four batters, the Brewers had four runs on two-run homers by Scooter Gennett and Adam Lind.
Wieland regrouped after the five-run, 38-pitch first inning, but even an offense that leads MLB in home runs couldn't overcome that.
"I couldn't locate my fastball," said Wieland, who didn't use a changeup until the second inning, when he started to get quick outs. He was charged with six runs on six hits with four walks and two strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.
The 6-3 Dodgers loss set the stage for swingman Carlos Frias' second start of the season in Thursday's series finale.
Wieland came to the Dodgers from the Padres in the Matt Kemp trade to provide starting depth for situations like this. This was only his eighth start in a Major League career delayed by Tommy John surgery. The 17th-ranked prospect in the Dodgers' farm system made his first start for the Dodgers and is the ninth starting pitcher used this season.
Reliever Daniel Coulombe, who pitched the ninth inning of Tuesday night's 8-2 win over the Brewers, allowing one run, was optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday to make room for Wieland.
When new management signed McCarthy and Brett Anderson to fill out a rotation that already had Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu, it wasn't counting on Frias, Wieland, David Huff, Mike Bolsinger and Scott Baker starting one-quarter of the club's first 28 games.
The Dodgers are 3-3 in the first six of those, Frias is the only one with a victory (the bullpen getting the other two) and the composite ERA of the fill-in starters is 5.28.
Outfielder Chris Heisey is already in town to be activated for Thursday's game, with a pitcher to be sent out and Wieland a likely candidate. The roster would return to 12 pitchers and 13 position players.
"You know he wants to make a good impression, but it just didn't go his way early," manager Don Mattingly said. "I thought he showed a lot of character getting us into the fifth and gave us a chance not to destroy our bullpen. A loss is a loss, but Joe kept us in the game."
Wieland said he got behind in the count to Gennett "and he made me pay" with the first home run. Then he left a curveball up to Lind, who hit a towering homer that just cleared the fence.
"After that, [pitching coach Rick] Honeycutt told me it's a new ballgame and to start over and I settled in," Wieland said. "I had a little jitters early, but that shouldn't have affected me. My bullpen [warm-up] was great and I thought it would be a good day."