The Los Angeles Dodgers’ offense is scuffling, but their rotation has been solid of late.
Mike Bolsinger has been an unexpected contributor, and he takes the mound seeking a third straight win as the Dodgers face the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.
Through May 15, Los Angeles (25-16) topped the NL with a .272 average while leading the majors with 54 homers and 5.26 runs per game. However, the Dodgers have since batted .184 with one homer and four runs during a 2-4 stretch that includes going 2 for 33 with runners in scoring position.
"We’ve been hitting so good all year and you’re not going to do it all year," starter Zack Greinke said.
Greinke allowed one run in 7 2-3 innings Friday before Joc Pederson’s solo homer in the eighth provided the difference in a 2-1 win over San Diego (20-23) in the opener of this three-game set.
"We’ve had runners in scoring position the last few days and no one really came through," said Pederson, whose team-high 11 homers not only lead all first-year players but are the most by a Dodgers rookie through 41 games of a season.
Los Angeles’ rotation, meanwhile, has a 2.57 ERA over the past 11 games, yielding one run or none in four of the past six.
Bolsinger (2-0, 1.04 ERA) has been a pleasant surprise after going 1-6 with a 5.50 ERA in 10 games – nine starts – for Arizona last year.
The right-hander has won both of his starts since being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City on May 12. He yielded one run in 5 2-3 innings against Miami that day, then allowed three hits and struck out six in six innings of Sunday’s 1-0 win over Colorado.
"He’s learned how to pitch a little bit better by knowing what he can do with different types of pitches, where to throw them and when to throw them in different types of counts," catcher Yasmani Grandal said. "That’s what’s worked out for him so well."
Bolsinger pitched well in his only career start against the Padres but lost, allowing two runs and three hits with six strikeouts and four walks over six innings in a 2-1 defeat June 29.
He may not have Grandal behind the plate after he was struck in the mask with a bat and a foul ball in separate incidents Friday, forcing him to leave in the fourth.
The Padres have a .184 average while losing six of seven, and they’ve scored just three times during a three-game slide.
Matt Kemp is batting .147 in the last 18 games, dropping his season average 73 points to .254. He was 0 for 3 on Friday after batting .417 in his first six games against his former team.
The Padres are turning to Ian Kennedy (2-3, 6.75), who has lost his last two starts while surrendering 11 runs, 11 hits and seven walks in 9 2-3 innings.
The right-hander tossed four no-hit innings Sunday before giving up six runs and getting pulled after walking the bases loaded with no outs in the sixth of a 10-5 loss to Washington.
"It’s pretty frustrating because it was such a good start," Kennedy said.
He’s 0-6 with a 5.74 ERA over his last 10 starts against the Dodgers. He was battered for eight runs in 4 1-3 innings of an 11-8 loss to Los Angeles on April 25, with Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick and Andre Ethier all homering off him.