June 6, 2016
The third time through the order caused the harm — again — for Mike Bolsinger on Monday night.
His third time through, Bolsinger was rocked for four runs, two hits and two walks in a five-batter span of the sixth, Trevor Story’s three-run homer to left-center providing the decisive blow in a 6-1 Colorado victory that snapped the Dodgers’ seven-game home winning streak.
The game had a familiar ring for Bolsinger, who in 34 big league starts has held opponents to a .250 mark the first two times through the order and a .331 mark the third time through.
“It’s not that I get tired, I just didn’t make the pitches,” Bolsinger said. “I think last year I got the label of a guy who goes [two] times through a lineup, and I was taken out early in games. That stinks to have that put on me, because I really don’t think that’s who I am. I can throw 120 pitches a game. I have a rubber arm.”
Bolsinger was no match for Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood, the former Angels pitcher and Redlands East Valley High standout who missed most of 2014 and all of 2015 because of his second elbow ligament-replacement surgery.
One day after racking up 12 runs and 14 hits against Atlanta, the Dodgers managed one hit, a Howie Kendrick grounder that rolled just out of the reach of first baseman Mark Reynolds and into right field in the second, in eight innings against Chatwood, who improved to 7-4 with a 2.79 earned-run average.
The teams traded runs in the second, Gerardo Parra crushing a 1-and-2 hanging slider for a solo homer to right for the Rockies and Adrian Gonzalez drawing a walk, taking third on Kendrick’s single and scoring on Enrique Hernandez’s fielder’s-choice grounder for the Dodgers.
The Rockies took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Reynolds doubled and scored on Nick Hundley’s single to left, and they blew the game open in the sixth.
The Dodgers intentionally walked Carlos Gonzalez, who entered with a major league-best .442 average and eight homers since May 23. Story crushed a 1-and-0 hanging curve deep into the left-field pavilion for his 16th homer, giving Colorado a 6-1 lead and knocking Bolsinger out of the game.
“He was very efficient through five innings, but I think it turned when he got Blackmon 0-2 and walked him,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “There were times he got ahead and had chances to bury guys.
“To be a consistent major league starter, you have to be able to put guys away. The conviction you make with every pitch has to be there. That’s how you get from good to great or from a serviceable to very effective big league starter.”
Bolsinger felt his fastball command was excellent Monday night, and he used it to get ahead of many hitters.
“Then, I think I get carried away a bit, and I try to be too fine with my off-speed pitches,” Bolsinger said. “That’s what happened tonight. I need to get those 0-2 and 1-2 pitches down in the dirt. … I’m just trying to be too fine.
“It’s like a golf swing. You swing too hard, you’re probably not going to hit it too solid. You throw these off-speed pitches, you try to do too much, they’re not going to do anything.”
Roberts started seven right-handed hitters Monday night, including Justin Turner in the leadoff spot for the first time this season and 10th time in his career, because Chatwood is a “reverse split guy” who had more success against left-handed hitters (.225, one homer in 129 at-bats) than right-handed hitters (.269, five homers in 134 at-bats) this season.
Slumping left-handed hitters Joc Pederson (.164, no homers, six RBIs in last 16 games) and Chase Utley (.115 in last six games) were on the bench.
It didn’t work. The Dodgers were one-hit wonders.
“Hitting is the toughest thing to do in baseball — those teams that win have consistent production,” Roberts said. “Regardless of who’s out there, you have to find some way to string some hits together to score some runs.”