Even on an off night, Bolsinger keeps LA close

Even on an off night, Bolsinger keeps LA close

CHICAGO -- Right-hander Mike Bolsinger didn't have his best stuff on Wednesday night, but he still kept the Dodgers close for five innings in a 2-1 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

"Mike obviously wasn't sharp tonight and didn't have the feel of the fastball or his breaking ball, but I tip my hat to [him and catcher A.J. Ellis]," manager Dave Roberts said. "They got Mike through five innings and gave us a chance to win. So when you don't have your best stuff and give your team a chance to win, that's all you can ask."

Bolsinger's fastball command was the most troublesome, especially early. That forced him to lean more heavily on offspeed options to get through the outing with just two runs allowed on two hits and two walks. One of those offspeed offerings, a curve down the heart of the plate, was sent over the wall in center field by Kris Bryant for the Cubs' only runs of the game.

"You know what? In the past year and a half that I have been pitching to him, I have gotten to take advantage of him, keep him off balance, keep him guessing, and he really hasn't done much damage to me," Bolsinger said. "Tonight I kind of just lollipopped a curveball in there, thinking I can get it by him, and obviously, him being the great hitter he is, he took care of it pretty well."

All things considered, it was still a solid performance for Bolsinger, whose presence in the rotation increased late on Wednesday with the news that left-hander Alex Wood will spend extended time on the 15-day disabled list with a sore elbow. An MRI showed Wood has a posterior impingement, which requires about four weeks of rest.

Bolsinger and the rest of the Dodgers' healthy starters now have additional weight on their shoulders. Clayton Kershaw is having a fantastic season, but the onus will be on such guys as Bolsinger, Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda to carry the load until help arrives in the form of pitchers currently on the DL.

Bolsinger, who started the season on the DL, aims to recapture the form he displayed last season, when he went 6-6 with a 3.62 ERA in 21 starts. This loss dropped his record to 1-2 with a 4.20 ERA in three starts this season, but a solid outing when he didn't have his best stuff could be a confidence booster.

"I know we're all not Kershaw, but if we can definitely pick up the slack at the end of the rotation, especially me ... The offense is going to take care of itself," Bolsinger said. "Last year I remember watching Kershaw and [Zack] Greinke pitch, and I wanted to feed off that. It really helps. Guys like me, especially, I like to see those guys do well, and I think, 'Why can't I do that?' That's basically the game plan I have in my head."

Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.