Dodgers pitcher Carlos Frias emerging as serviceable back-end rotation option

first_imgThe Dodgers’ rotation was in trouble.Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu started the season on the disabled list and has been slow to recover from a shoulder injury.Right-hander Brandon McCarthy was lost for the season with an elbow injury just two weeks into the season.Internal options were not obvious and a series of in-house auditions were held to find a stopgap replacement. “He’s throwing the ball well and he’s not doing anything that says that he can’t be that guy for us,” Mattingly said. “His stuff has always been there. As his mix grows and he learns how to take a little off here and there, he’s going to get better and better.”His low-90s fastball jumps. His slider has some bite. And his changeup can come and go but has the potential to be a dangerous pitch.Slowly the confidence has been building up in the 6-foot-4, 190-pounder.“I feel comfortable every time they give me an opportunity to pitch,” Frias said. “I just want to take the ball and help the team win every time out. The difference has been consistency.”And with that consistency comes more trust from the Dodgers’ brass, although at a sometimes begrudging pace.After all, they remember that debacle in Colorado last season in which Frias allowed eight runs and 10 hits in two-thirds of an inning.Frias had been fairly effective out of the Dodger bullpen before that and in two spot starts. Frias went 1-1 overall with a 6.13 ERA, most of the damage coming in the disastrous outing at Colorado. He recorded 29 strikeouts and allowed seven walks last season.Mattingly said it was important to see that Frias made the most of his time last season.“The biggest difference is his confidence. He seems like he’s much more assured of himself,” Mattingly said. “Once guys come up and have some success like he did last season, they can take it into the winter. “You can’t overestimate how good that is for you. You can take it into your offseason work. You come into spring training and it’s a whole different animal. You feel like you’re there to fight for a spot. In your mind, you know you can pitch at this level.”Frias started the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City, then was brought up to the Dodgers and totaled 2 1/3 scoreless innings in two appearances, earning a relief victory April 27 against the Giants.Frias made his first start May 1 against Arizona and delivered 5 1/3 scoreless innings to improve to 2-0. Frias followed that up by allowing three runs in five innings in a lopsided win over Milwaukee on May 7 for a 3-0 record.In his last start against Miami on May 13, Frias recorded his first quality start of the season, allowing three runs in six innings.Frias has 16 strikeouts and just four walks in 18 2/3 innings, showing more control than his minor-league strikeout-to-walk ratio of 7.3 strikeouts and 3.4 walks per nine innings suggests.“I was working hard in the offseason,” Frias said. “All the hard work has been about consistency. That’s what it takes to succeed at this level.“It’s all coming together. I wanted to be physically and mentally prepared. Hopefully, I’ll keep getting better.” It did not take long for hard-throwing Dominican right-hander Carlos Frias to emerge as a serviceable back-end rotation option.“So far, it’s been talent,” Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal said. “He’s winning games just by having talent. Once he can put the ball where he wants it and get guys out, the abilities will come. But there’s no doubt he has been doing well.” Frias is scheduled to start Tuesday’s opener against the rival San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park against Tim Hudson. And Frias will continue to try to give the Dodgers a chance to win as he has done in his first three starts, compiling a 3-0 record with a 2.89 ERA, even if he has been unable to go deep into games.VIDEO: Dodgers manager Don Mattingly reflects on Carlos Frias’ early-season performancecenter_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more