Tony Gonsolin’s importance to the Los Angeles Dodgers rotation has increased this season as the team battles with injuries and struggles from a large portion of their staff.
So far, Gonsolin has mostly answered the call, pitching to a 2.21 ERA across 40.2 innings since he returned from a left ankle sprain suffered in Spring Training. The right-hander has also gone at least five innings in his last six starts, which has helped relieve some pressure on an overworked bullpen.
However, the Dodgers opted to go with a bullpen game to finish out their series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday rather than using Gonsolin on the normal four days of rest.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that decision was made because the 29-year-old has not been recovering well following his starts, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
But Roberts said the decision was made to give Gonsolin extra rest because “the recovery hasn’t been great” between his starts. “So, trying to appreciate the short and the long term, making sure we take care of him and his health, making sure the recovery is where it needs to be, we just felt it was best for him,” Roberts said.
“He’s never been a great in-between-start guy, but I still believe, in talking to our pitching guys, the recovery is just not where it has been. There’s no smoke (injury concern). It’s just seeing that, then it’s ‘What can we do to make sure he has great outings when he does pitch?’”
The positive news is the trouble is not related to Gonsolin’s ankle which caused him problems earlier in the season. The negative side is it may be a broader issue, which can be more challenging to treat and plan for:
“There’s nothing specific. It’s just overall body recovery,” he said.
Fortunately for the Dodgers, Gonsolin has not suffered in his production as a result and his spin rates are in line with his normal averages. However, he has seen his average fastball velocity drop from May to June by 1 mph, and his split-change is down nearly 2 mph.
Perhaps the extra rest can get him back on track, but the Dodgers need to make sure Gonsolin remains healthy, or else their starting rotation could be in even bigger trouble.
Tony Gonsolin credited Dodgers defense
Gonsolin got through six innings for a second time this season, but his start against the Washington Nationals easily could have produced different results if it wasn’t for the Dodgers’ defense and some good fortune.
Gonsolin held the Nationals to only one run on three hits, two walks and a hit batter. He threw just 70 pitches before giving way to the Dodgers’ bullpen.
“I felt like from pitch No. 1, I wasn’t super sharp,” Gonsolin said after the Dodgers’ 9-3 win. “I was really fortunate to have awesome defense. It’s what kept me in the ballgame. … Just be happy with the results and give all the praise to the defense. They played great.”
Gonsolin followed that outing by going five innings and allowing four runs (three earned) in a no-decision against the Cincinnati Reds.
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