The series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays marked the beginning of 16 consecutive games without a day off, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are already mapping out a plan to alleviate the burden on their starting rotation.
Dustin May faced Matt Beaty and Tyler White in a simulated game on Wednesday, and his next time taking the mound in a game will be as a starter. “He’s going to have a little bit of a layoff,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“I don’t know exactly which day we’ve got him penciled in. He’ll throw another bullpen here in a couple days.”
Roberts later said the Dodgers would stay on rotation through the weekend series with the New York Yankees. That calls for Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tony Gonsolin and Clayton Kershaw to make starts during 2019 Players Weekend.
Thus, the earliest May would be seen is during the Aug. 26-28 series at Petco Park against the San Diego Padres. After that the Dodgers face the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field from Aug. 29-Sept. 1.
A six-game homestand follows before an off day on Sept. 9.
Upon making his MLB debut Aug. 2, May made three starts before his first audition as a relief pitcher. That didn’t go as the Dodgers had hoped, with the Braves rallying for four runs and a comeback win. May surrendered a grand slam in one inning, though bounced back to toss a scoreless seventh.
Including time in the Minors, the relief appearance was only May’s sixth of his career. He acknowledged a need to find a different routine in the event he continues to pitch out of the bullpen.
“He’s still going to have appearances out of the ‘pen,” Roberts said. “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 is 1-2 with a 4.26 ERA in four games (three starts) with the Dodgers. He allowed one earned run in consecutive starts before the rocky bullpen appearance. Along with May, the Dodgers are evaluating Gonsolin for a potential spot in their postseason bullpen.
“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 of May shifting to a relief role. “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.”