Brewers @ Dodgers June 19, 2016: Carlos Frias Returns

The Dodgers have won two crazy games in a row, and are looking to secure a series win against the Brewers today. Kenta Maeda is making the start on this hot afternoon, only five days after taking a line drive just under his knee. Comebackers have been a problem for Maeda dating back to his time in Japan. At the end of 2013, he took a ball off the knee and was carted off the field for treatment. In Japan there is a grace period of about ten minutes for players to be treated before they have to be removed from the game. After getting carted off, Maeda returned to pitch five innings, though he left early because he wasn’t feeling right. Maeda was also hit on the thigh by a comebacker the following May. Then, of course, there have been two incidents this year. When watching Maeda pitch, it isn’t really obvious why he’s having such bad luck, either. He finishes his delivery in a good fielding position and he has excellent reflexes.

1:10 p.m. PT
Los Angeles
2B Utley
 SS Seager
Maldonado LF Kendrick
Garza (R)
Maeda (R)

For the Dodgers’ sake, it’s a good thing this incident wasn’t as bad as those suffered by Kazuhisa Ishii or Hiroki Kuroda while they wore blue. As an aside, Kuroda took a line drive off his head in 2009, and he’s still suffering from neck and shoulder problems stemming from a pinched nerve developed on that scary day. Yesterday, Kuroda was deactivated from the Carp’s roster for the second time this year due to that pain. He’s having a pretty good year at age 41 other than the health problems.

After last night’s performance, Mike Bolsinger has been optioned. Yesterday’s game probably deserves a qualifier because he was pretty clearly pitching injured (it was revealed post-game that he was cramping on his left side), but Bolsinger hasn’t looked like the pitcher who held down the number four/five starter spot so capably for 100 innings or so last year. Bolsinger’s major league success depends on a few things in particular: command, and getting ground balls with that command. Even if you exclude yesterday’s start, he was doing neither of those. His struggles this season don’t seem like the league figuring him out as much as him just pitching worse. I’m as high on Bolsinger’s potential as anybody, but it was pretty clearly time for him to be replaced. There’s still hope, of course, but he has some things he needs to work on.

Carlos Frias was recalled to replace Bolsinger. Frias was in consideration for the number five starter role during spring training, but ultimately lost out to Ross Stripling. Frias injured his oblique shortly after the season started, and didn’t return to AAA until mid-May. Frias is currently stretched out to be a starter and hasn’t pitched since June 12th, but it seems like his role right now will be as a long reliever (especially since Chris Hatcher will almost certainly be unavailable today). I never thought I’d be okay with a nine-man bullpen, but the circumstances this year are unique. Frias may not be long for the roster, since Yasiel Puig will be ready to be activated as early as tomorrow.

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About Daniel Brim

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Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.