Mets @ Dodgers July 5, 2015: Mike Bolsinger, master of the ‘looking’ strike

Hopefully Mike Bolsinger didn’t eat any bad shellfish this time around. He toes the rubber against the Mets today, and the folks at Beyond the Boxscore noticed something about Bolsinger.

Mets
Dodgers
1:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
RF
Granderson
SS
Hernandez
3B
Murphy
2B
Kendrick
1B
Duda
3B
Turner
2B
Flores
1B
Gonzalez
LF
Cuddyer
RF
Puig
C
Monell
LF
Van Slyke
SS
Tejada
CF
Pederson
P
Matz (L)
C
Ellis
CF
Lagares
P
Bolsinger (R)

Teams aren’t swinging-and-missing at this pitches. Normally, this would be cause for some concern, but he’s adept at getting the called strike.

“… Mike Bolsinger has a whopping 37.2 percent strikes looking rate, which is the highest rate in the majors by a 3.2 percent margin (ahead of the Marlins’ David Phelps).

By Fangraphs‘ metrics, his 55.1 percent zone-swing rate is by far the lowest in baseball (minimum 60 IP). He also features the 12th-lowest outside-swing rate, and the lowest total swing rate (39.1 percent).

Bolsinger is also generating the seventh-most ground balls in the majors (57.3 percent), a great sign moving forward. His curve is a great out-pitch, generating 30.2 percent strikeouts on the season, although his less-frequently used slider generates many more swings-and-misses (26.7 percent versus 11.9 percent, per Fangraphs).”

For context: He has thrown 946 pitches so far this season … only 81 have been swinging strikes. We all know he isn’t going to blow hitters away with his velocity, but his pitchability is off-the-charts (it has to be when he throws, essentially, two pitches and tops out in the upper-80s).

The Dodgers are riding Bolsinger as long as they can. So far, so good.

And they’re going to need to because Carlos Frias was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to July 1) with lower back tightness. This seemed like an inevitability, as we had heard about Frias’ sore back in his last few starts. The numbers in Frias’ last four starts seem to show something was off:

  • 20 2/3 IP
  • 24 H
  • 10 BB
  • 12 K
  • 5.66 ERA
  • 2.22 WHIP (!)
  • .316 BAA

Even in his five scoreless innings against the Cubs last Thursday, Frias struggled with his control/command mightily. The Dodgers recalled Daniel Coulombe to take Frias’ spot on the roster (but not in the rotation). Frias was scheduled to make two more starts before the All-Star break, so the Dodgers could get away with one bullpen game if need be, but not two. Then again …

I (and a lot of others) would also prefer not to start Juan Nicasio. Scott Baker left his start with Oklahoma City earlier this week, so he’s probably out (also not on the 40-man roster). Brandon Beachy is still on his rehab assignment, Zach Lee is still on the minor-league disabled list, David Huff is on the temporary inactive list and Deck McGuire just isn’t good (the last two both not on the 40-man, either). Joe Wieland is on the 7-day DL, so he’s out. Ian Thomas could be an option to start either Monday and/or Saturday. Thomas threw 101 pitches on Thursday for OKC, so he’d seemingly be out for Monday (only three days’ rest) but might be a guy for Saturday. So, the smart money is on Eric Stults for tomorrow, which, fun. His addition to the 40-man would require a subsequent move (someone to the DL or designated for assignment).

=====

For the first time since April 28, Joc Pederson isn’t hitting first or second in the lineup. He’s only hitting .159/.288/.341 in the last two weeks (13 games), so it seems like a move was bound to happen. He’ll hit seventh in hopes of him snapping out of his slump. Enrique Hernandez is in for Jimmy Rollins (good) and A.J. Ellis is in for Yasmani Grandal (meh). With the Dodgers going up against Steven Matz, they’ve stacked the lineup with righties, as Pederson and Adrian Gonzalez are the only lefties starting today. But hey, at least they aren’t both sitting.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.