The Los Angeles Dodgers only had three hits in their 3-1 win against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday but were picked up by another strong performance from the pitching staff.
Tony Gonsolin was on the mound for his second start of the season, looking to bounce back from a rough debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates in which he lasted only 1.2 innings and walked a career-high five batters.
Gonsolin did improve a second time around despite encountering some early command issues. He worked through those to log 3.2 innings of one-run ball, allowing four hits and finishing with five strikeouts against three walks.
“Definitely progress,” Gonsolin said after the game. “Still a little shaky in that first inning, settled in a little bit and got some outs. Limit some of those walks and I think I can go deeper in the game.”
Of the three walks Gonsolin issued in his start against the Phillies, two of them came in the first inning. He started pitching out of the stretch in the third inning and credited that for his improved command the rest of the way.
“Definitely getting back in the feel of things. Made a little adjustment there in the third inning, I just went stretch only,” Gonsolin said. “I was feeling a lot more comfortable out of the stretch and felt like I could execute pitches better. Ultimately it worked out.”
Catching Gonsolin for a second consecutive start was Will Smith, who also felt the right-hander fared better against the Phillies. “I think it was an improvement from last start,” Smith said.
“Still not where he wants to be, obviously, but he got out of a big jam in the first and limited it to one run. Got out of another jam in the second, so we’ll take that as an improvement and step forward.
“He’s only going to get better, make a lot of quality starts for us this year and get a lot of big outs.”
Dodgers not expecting bullpen games in Gonsolin starts
Although Gonsolin provided a bit more length against Phillies compared to his 2021 debut, the Dodgers still had to rely on the combination of David Price, Joe Kelly, Victor Gonzalez, Blake Treinen, Jimmy Nelson and Kenley Jansen for the final 16 outs.
“It’s not the way we envisioned it,” manager Dave Roberts answered when asked if the team anticipates bullpen games in Gonsolin starts. “He’s going out there and competing, doing the best he can, trying to get as many outs as he can while continuing to build up.
“I think getting him up to the 70-pitch number, his next turn, the natural progression is up to 90 pitches. But again, he’s got to be efficient. When he takes the mound the next time, I’m not expecting it to be a bullpen game.
“That puts the onus on him to pitch effectively and go deeper.”
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