I know this happened a few days ago, but it’s still worth noting now, I think. After Mat Latos and Alex Wood came to town, you knew Mike Bolsinger‘s job in the rotation was going away. You thought, well, maybe he’d stick around in the bullpen, but with more names than the roster could handle, there just wasn’t room. He was optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday.
I’m sure we’ll see him back, either when rosters expand in September or when someone gets hurt, but until then, it’s probably worth taking a minute to pause and say…. hey, damn good work. I’m not sure we think enough about how important Bolsinger was in holding things together when Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy got hurt. Where Scott Baker, David Huff, Joe Wieland, Eric Surkamp, Zach Lee, and Brandon Beachy failed, Bolsinger succeeded.
And, I mean, succeeded. 122 pitchers have thrown 80 innings this year, and Bolsinger’s 2.83 ERA is 23rd, better than Matt Harvey or Chris Sale. His 2.84 FIP is 14th, about the same as Sonny Gray or Carlos Carrasco. Obviously, those guys have pitched far more innings, and they go deeper into games, and no one on any planet is saying Bolsinger is anywhere near as good as those guys. But that’s not the point. This is a guy they stole from Arizona for almost literally nothing. He ended up being more than a band-aid. He ended up being a season-saver.
Because, if Bolsinger hadn’t been able to step in for 16 starts, I’m really not sure what would have happened. They managed to limp along with four starters for nearly an entire season. I just don’t think you can do that with three. They would have had to make a deal in May, and you just can’t make a deal in May. Or if you can, it’s for someone you either don’t really want, or had to pay far, far, too much to get, or both. Almost certainly, it wouldn’t have been possible to get someone who would even be able to approximate what Bolsinger did.
It’s not often a guy who’s been worth two wins gets sent down to the minors. It’s hard to argue that he’s one of the five best starters now, because he’s not. Because of his well-publicized stats that say he does very well the first two times through the lineup and less so through the third, maybe the bullpen is the best place for him anyway. I’m not sure what his future holds. It should be in the big leagues, though. He’s earned that. I’m not sure anyone, probably not even the Dodgers, could have anticipated anything like that when they got him. Damn fine work, Mike. Damn fine.