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Bolsinger stakes claim to fifth spot in rotation

Dodgers starter impressive in third outing; Jansen earns first save
Special to MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- Mike Bolsinger has put a halt to the Oklahoma City shuttle.

The Dodgers have been filling the fifth spot in their pitching rotation with a carousel of candidates, but the right-hander put a firm grip on the job Sunday afternoon in his third start for his new team.

Bolsinger threw six scoreless innings at the Rockies, stuck out six (one shy of his career-high set with the D-backs last year), and combined with relievers Yimi Garcia, Chris Hatcher and Kenley Jansen for a three-hit, 1-0 victory at Dodger Stadium.

"Mike is more of a finesse guy, but he's a guy who can really spin a breaking ball," manager Don Mattingly said after Bolsinger lowered his ERA to 1.04 in his 85-pitch, 52-strike outing. "And, he can do a lot with it. He's able to pitch off of it. He doesn't get into a lot of trouble.

"Guys come in, and have opportunities. He's pitched good three times now."

Bolsinger, 27, calls himself "a backwards pitcher" because of the way he leads with his breaking stuff.

"He mixed in that curve ball, and he threw in that cutter, too," Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said. "He threw strikes a lot with that curve ball."

Rockies leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon struck out three times in five innings against Bolsinger, and was so steamed by umpire Marty Foster's calls early in his last at-bat, he was ejected.

That punchout ended the Rockies' biggest threat, runners on first and third with one out. Bolsinger wouldn't let opposite number Kyle Kendrick lay down a sacrifice and got him on strikes before ending the threat against Blackmon.

Full Game Coverage

LOS ANGELES -- Mike Bolsinger has put a halt to the Oklahoma City shuttle.

The Dodgers have been filling the fifth spot in their pitching rotation with a carousel of candidates, but the right-hander put a firm grip on the job Sunday afternoon in his third start for his new team.

Bolsinger threw six scoreless innings at the Rockies, stuck out six (one shy of his career-high set with the D-backs last year), and combined with relievers Yimi Garcia, Chris Hatcher and Kenley Jansen for a three-hit, 1-0 victory at Dodger Stadium.

"Mike is more of a finesse guy, but he's a guy who can really spin a breaking ball," manager Don Mattingly said after Bolsinger lowered his ERA to 1.04 in his 85-pitch, 52-strike outing. "And, he can do a lot with it. He's able to pitch off of it. He doesn't get into a lot of trouble.

"Guys come in, and have opportunities. He's pitched good three times now."

Bolsinger, 27, calls himself "a backwards pitcher" because of the way he leads with his breaking stuff.

"He mixed in that curve ball, and he threw in that cutter, too," Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said. "He threw strikes a lot with that curve ball."

Rockies leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon struck out three times in five innings against Bolsinger, and was so steamed by umpire Marty Foster's calls early in his last at-bat, he was ejected.

That punchout ended the Rockies' biggest threat, runners on first and third with one out. Bolsinger wouldn't let opposite number Kyle Kendrick lay down a sacrifice and got him on strikes before ending the threat against Blackmon.

Video: COL@LAD: Bolsinger fans Blackmon to escape a jam

Full Game Coverage

"That was a big inning, to keep them from scoring, first and third," Mattingly said. "Obviously huge in this game. Losing their guy [Blackmon] limited their options, because they had some guys down."

Asked if opposing players complaining about the strike zone was a compliment, Bolsinger said. "I don't think I throw hard enough to get into hitters' heads. I just go out there, and try to nibble at the corners. That's just the way I pitch."

The curve is still a work in progress as Bolsinger tries to refine it.

"I slow it down a little so it's loopy," he said. "I throw it harder, so it's tight."

He cited former Dodgers right-hander Dan Haren as what he aspires to be.

"He doesn't throw hard at all, like me, and he still gets outs," Bolsinger said. "It's not always about velocity. That's what I'm trying to be."

The guy who got the last three outs for Bolsinger (2-0) was hard-throwing Jansen, who earned his first save of the season after missing the first six weeks because of left-foot surgery.

He struck out four in the eighth inning Friday, then came back with a 1-2-3 ninth Sunday, striking out Wilin Rosario swinging to nail down career save No. 107.

Video: COL@LAD: Jansen records his first save, Dodgers win

"I felt pumped up, both times out," Jansen said. "Today, it was my first time in the ninth, with a one-run lead, when you can't make a mistake. I felt great, felt pumped up, and did my job."

Mattingly praised the committee he used to close in Jansen's absence, but said having the 44-save man from 2014 "was definitely a good feeling.

"It's nice to have Kenley [for the ninth]. He's established, one of the tops in the league. You have that rock at the end of the game."

Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers