video thumbnail

ARI@LAD: Bolsinger fans five, singles in first start

Mike Bolsinger did not know how he was going to react when he stepped out onto the Wrigley Field grass for the first time.

"I wrote on my Facebook page that I might cry," the D-backs right-hander said.

For the record, when Bolsinger walked out onto the field Monday to look around, there were no tears. Just a phone call to his father.

Bolsinger, who will start Thursday afternoon's series finale against the Cubs, grew up just blocks from Wrigley Field. Though he was more of a Blackhawks fan as a kid, he did attend Cubs games, and Wrigley was a special place for him.

When the 2014 season started, though, it hardly seemed like Bolsinger was going to be pitching in Wrigley Field in April.

A 15th-round Draft pick in 2010, Bolsinger started the year at Triple-A Reno and was not on the team's 40-man roster. But Trevor Cahill's struggles in the rotation, combined with Bolsinger's outstanding first two starts at Reno, got him a promotion.

Bolsinger made one relief appearance before making his first big league start five days ago against the Dodgers. He pitched well in the first three innings before things unraveled for him in the fourth and fifth innings.

Though he relies mainly on a cut fastball and curveball, Bolsinger knows that he must improve his changeup in order to have long-term success in the Majors.

"I really need to work on my changeup," Bolsinger said. "I didn't throw it much at all against the Dodgers. I don't think that I have a bad one at all. It's something that I need to throw. I mean if you want to be a starter up here, you've got to throw it. I'm going to throw more in this start so they don't see the curveball and fastball as much."

The Cubs will start Edwin Jackson, who pitched for the D-backs for the first three months of 2010.

The right-hander earned the win in his last start, when he scattered eight hits over 5 2/3 innings against the Reds.

In that game, Jackson retired the side in the third inning on three pitches, becoming the first Cubs pitcher to do so since Randy Wells against the Cardinals on Sept. 25, 2011.

D-backs: Digging deep
Players said following Tuesday night's loss that they have had plenty of team meetings, and it now was a matter of playing better.

One person who has not spoken is general manager Kevin Towers, who leaves that to manager Kirk Gibson.

"Not as a team, but individually, yeah," Towers said when he asked if he's talked to the team. "I've talked to guys at times. I talked to [shortstop Cliff Pennington Saturday] night at the end of the game. He's a pro's pro. He said [he] had some difficult times in Oakland where [the team] lost 11 in a row, but nothing like this.

"I'm sure it's happened in the game, and it's probably even happened with teams I've had in the past. You try to forget those times. But when it's at the beginning of the year, it magnifies things. You know you have so much more season left and have dug such a deep hole already. It's going to take a pretty incredible streak just to get back to .500."

Cubs: Who closes now?
Jose Veras was removed as the Cubs closer after blowing a two-run lead on April 11 against the Cardinals. Since then, the Cubs have had one save opportunity, which was Wednesday. And that didn't go well. Pedro Strop served up four runs in the ninth inning to the Diamondbacks, who rallied for a 7-5 win. James Russell blew a save opportunity when he gave up Miguel Montero's game-tying RBI single.

Manager Rick Renteria has said his closer options are Strop, Hector Rondon and Justin Grimm. Veras, meanwhile, sits.

Strop knows the pressures of the job.

"You feel that all the work that your teammates did to get to that situation is on you," Strop said. "You control whatever you can control and give your best. Things are going to happen; it's baseball. We have to keep our heads up and come fight tomorrow."

Worth noting
• D-backs outfielder Mark Trumbo was out of the lineup for the second straight day with discomfort in his left foot. Trumbo felt the injury Monday night after hitting a home run. X-rays were negative, but the team will likely have him undergo more testing.

• D-backs outfielder A.J. Pollock returned as a pinch-runner on Wednesday after missing the first two games of the series with a neck strain. Pollock saw a chiropractor Monday and has felt improvement the past couple days.

• Wrigley Field celebrated its 100th birthday Wednesday. The park has played host to 7,883 regular season games over that period.

• Cubs No. 5 prospect Jorge Soler, sidelined with a sore right hamstring, is rehabbing at the team's complex in Mesa, Ariz., and doing some baseball activities. However, Soler is not ready to play in games in extended spring training. Soler appeared in one game for Double-A Tennessee and hit a double, then had to leave the game because of the hamstring injury.

• Jeff Samardzija did not get a decision Wednesday, despite posting his fifth quality start. He is winless in his last 11 starts. The Cubs did score five runs, which is more than the right-hander got in his four previous starts combined.

• Cubs outfielder Justin Ruggiano underwent an MRI after injuring his left hamstring on Wednesday chasing a ball hit to right. Ruggiano fell onto the visitors' bullpen and had to be helped off the field.

• Emilio Bonifacio has three RBIs this season, and all have come at Wrigley Field. He leads the team with a .351 batting average. Comments