Although the Los Angeles Dodgers publicly stated Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and David Price were under consideration for the fifth starter role, the general consensus was the decision truly lied between the two right-handers.
And with Gonsolin nearly going all of Spring Training with just one start under his belt, the final spot in the rotation appeared to be May’s to lose. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts then announced on Sunday that May indeed was poised to begin the season in the rotation.
“I was super excited. I feel like I’ve worked super hard, it definitely wasn’t given to me. I feel like I went out every day and just did what I was supposed to do,” May said. “Ended up working out for me. Super excited and super ready to get the season going.”
Roberts made the announcement on the eve of May’s final tuneup of the spring, which marked a third turn through the rotation on a five-day routine. He went out and held the L.A. Angels to just one run and had four strikeouts over 5.1 innings.
“Everything but the curveball was working. I was just kind of babying it in there. I’ve got to keep telling myself that I’ve just got to rip it over and it’s going to do what it’s going to do. That’s about it,” May said of the outing.
“Everything else was working. Just got to command the breaking ball a little bit better.”
May allowed one earned run or fewer in four of five games this spring. “For me, just being able to land a breaking ball, incorporating some more four-seams, getting a little more swing and miss, I feel like helped a lot,” May said of his growth since the 2020 postseason.
The start of Spring Training was a bit uneven for the 23-year-old as he pitched two innings out of the bullpen but then didn’t appear in a Cactus League game until 13 days later. May did get to throw in a “B” game during that stretch, which allowed him to iron out mechanics.
That area of growth is where May felt he improved the most during Spring Training. “Just being able to be more direct to home plate, not as many non-competitive misses,” May explained.
“I feel like my misses are a lot closer to the zone now. Just going to keep working off of that and keep moving forward.”
Roberts pleased with May’s development
Like with any young pitcher, much of May’s maturation has centered around trusting his secondary pitches. “I think if you look at last year and his trek through the Minor Leagues, everything was hard,” Roberts noted.
“It was upper 90s fastball and a hard cutter, and didn’t really use a breaking ball or changeup. So I think that now the change and curveball is part of his arsenal. He feels comfortable and confident.
“The ability to get guys off the heater is really important, especially when you’re trying to get hitters out two, three times through the order.”
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