Early this week, as Dodgers starter Mike Bolsinger prepared to make his start Saturday, he realized he will be starting opposite Brewers righty Chase Anderson, whom he has known as a teammate, a rival, a roommate, and, for more than a decade, a friend.
The two have known each other since they were 15-year-old teammates on a Dallas-area summer team. They became rivals after high school, first in junior college (Anderson at North Central Texas, Bolsinger at Grayson County) and then in Division I (Anderson at Oklahoma, Bolsinger at Arkansas), before reuniting in the D-backs' organization.
Anderson was a ninth-round pick in 2009, and Bolsinger a 15th-round pick in 2010. By the 2014 season, they were rookie teammates on the Major League squad. The D-backs traded Bolsinger to the Dodgers in November 2014, but Bolsinger and Anderson remained offseason throwing partners.
Along the way, they became fast friends. They lived together from their time in Double-A up to their rookie seasons in Arizona. Bolsinger was the best man at Anderson's wedding in 2013. When Bolsinger married in January, Anderson was in the wedding party. He found out shortly before the ceremony that he'd been traded to the Brewers.
Prior to Thursday's series opener in Los Angeles, the two caught up again. Since Saturday will be the first time the two have ever pitched against each other, some verbal barbs were obviously exchanged.
"I told him I was going to crowd the plate when he's pitching, be ready to take one off the arm or something," Bolsinger said. "I hope he has a good game, as well as he hopes I have a good one."
Simply put, Anderson wasn't as diplomatic.
"He was like, 'Let's make it fun,'" Anderson said. "I said, 'I'm out there to win.' He thought I would throw him one right there down the middle. No chance, buddy."
Things to know about this game
• In 16 plate appearances against Anderson, Dodgers slugger Adrian Gonzalez has reached base more than half the time, thanks to four hits and five walks.
• Kenley Jansen is tied for the all-time Dodgers record in saves, sitting at 161 along with Eric Gagne. Another save Saturday would give him the outright record.
• After a streak of five straight losses in late April and early May, Anderson only has one loss in his last month of pitching. Meanwhile, Bolsinger only has one win in that span.