Dodgers News: Gavin Stone Feeling More Confident On The Mound

The Los Angeles Dodgers have relied upon young arms to bridge the gap at the backend of their starting rotation, mainly 25-year-old Gavin Stone.

The second year man has been as good as advertised since breaking camp with the team, when he earned a spot with a huge Spring Training performance. Following his Wednesday start against the Miami Marlins, Stone is 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, allowing just a .663 on-base plus slugging to opposing hitters.

Stone’s matured arsenal has much to do with his expanded success, developing his cut-fastball in to a true weapon.

Over his past three starts, Stone is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and a .183 batting average allowed. Alongside results, Dodgers staff believe that he’s been pitching with more belief in his ability.

“I would say probably just confidence, conviction,” Stone said of what has led to his success. “I feel like that’s key for me, but for every pitcher. If you pitch with conviction, more often than not, good things will happen.”

Among qualified pitchers in that span, Stone has three quality starts, pitching deep into games fairly consistently, with three consecutive outings of six innings or more.

“That’s a goal of mine, for sure, to get deep into games and help our bullpen out a little bit,” Stone said. “It just speaks on the conviction I have in all my pitches, so just trying to keep that going.”

So what has led to the increased confidence for Stone? A stable spot in the rotation and on the team.

“I think it’s just a comfortability thing,” Stone said. “Getting to know the guys a lot better, getting to know the coaching staff, being in the clubhouse more instead of in and out. I think that’s just a comfort thing.”

The right-hander has allowed a 31.3% hard hit rate, while having plus-grades on his breaking balls. The Dodgers have increased Stone’s sinker usage this season, a flip from where it was last season.

Although his sinker hasn’t yielded the best results on its own, it has elevated his changeup, and his number one pitch has carried him. Stone currently has a 43.7% whiff rate on his changeup with a .168 expected batting average against.

Gavin Stone’s next start

Having a day off on Thursday, the Dodgers aim to have a strong performance against the San Diego Padres in a weekend series.

Their road trip to both Petco Park for the Padres is followed up with a set against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park. Stone’s next outing will come against the Giants, who have played a little lesser than middling baseball.

A plus-factor for Stone going into his eighth start will be how he navigates against a scuffling offense that only homers but once every 38 at-bats. Their team OPS of .677 ranks 14 in Major League Baseball.

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