With the Los Angeles Dodgers in the midst of playing 16 consecutive games during a stretch that doesn’t call for an off day until Thursday, Sept. 5, prospect Dustin May was inserted back into the starting rotation this week.
While manager Dave Roberts had previously announced May would start Monday’s series opener against the San Diego Padres, it wasn’t until a couple hours before first pitch that he revealed the Dodgers were temporarily expanding to a six-man rotation.
The change meant May is due to receive another start — scheduled for Sunday in the series finale at Chase Field — before being placed back into the bullpen. He, along with fellow rookie Tony Gonsolin, remain under evaluation for a potential postseason role.
Although the bulk of May’s professional career has seen him pitch as a starter, the 21-year-old voiced confidence in being equipped to succeed in any scenario, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“I’ve just got to be ready for anything. I have to be compatible with what’s going going on. I’m excited to be here, I’m really excited to do whatever they need me to do. I’m ready for it. … I’ve just got to do what I’ve got to do to stay prepared. It doesn’t matter what the role is. I’m going to go out and give it my all.”
After making his MLB debut and two ensuing starts, May was shifted to the bullpen for his first career relief appearance with the Dodgers. He allowed a grand slam and squandered the lead, but bounced back with a scoreless second inning.
“To expect him to throw three zeros the other day, that’s the hope, but you just never know. It’s a work in progress,” Roberts said at the time. “I think the next time it happens he’ll feel a little more comfortable. We’re going to continue to keep our options open with Dustin.
“He’s still going to have appearances out of the ‘pen. But in the short, short, near-term, get him to make a start and then potentially get him back in the ‘pen, that’s the way we’re going to do it.”
May again was shining before the sixth inning proved to be a trouble spot like in his three prior starts. May’s failure to back up a throw to third base on an RBI single allowed a second run to score, and an RBI groundout followed, giving the Padres their decided lead.
On the season May is now 1-3 with a 4.07 ERA in five games (four starts).