The vaunted Los Angeles Dodgers starting rotation has shown signs of fatigue lately, contributing to the team’s recent road struggles against the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Walker Buehler is among those who seemed to hit a bump in the road, allowing six runs on eight hits in just five innings against the Colorado Rockies on Monday. The Dodgers won that game 16-9, much to Buehler’s relief.
As the Dodgers monitor their second-year right-hander, who has already thrown a career-high 159.1 innings this season, they are heavily considering using another young righty to give Buehler an extra day of rest.
“Tony [Gonsolin] is going to start on Saturday, and Walker right now is scheduled to go on Sunday,” manager Dave Roberts said after the Dodgers’ win over the Rockies on Wednesday.
“Right now, that’s how it is,” Roberts said. “There is a possibility we could pivot but as it stands right now that’s the way it is.”
Before the game, Roberts hinted that the team could use either Tony Gonsolin or Ross Stripling as a spot starter on Saturday. Both were also available out of the bullpen on Wednesday, and Stripling wound up pitching in relief, effectively eliminating him from contention.
Another option for Roberts is to push Buehler back until the Dodgers hit the road against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, with Dustin May receiving the start on Sunday. May has not pitched since a line drive hit him in the head during Sunday’s game against the D-Backs.
Luckily for the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect, however, the ball hit by Arizona’s Jake Lamb grazed May’s glove before hitting his head, minimizing the impact. May was taken out of the game but avoided serious injury. He threw a simulated game on Wednesday, clearing a needed hurdle as he recovers from a head contusion.
Buehler had a breakout rookie year in 2018, his first full season in the Major Leagues. He became the team’s best starter in the postseason, helping the Dodgers win both Game 7 of the National League Championship Series and Game 3 of the World Series.
The Vanderbilt University product built upon that in 2019, notching his first-ever NL All-Star nod. He currently holds a 3.28 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with two complete games over 26 starts.
Since his disastrous MLB debut in Arizona on June 26, Gonsolin has recorded a 1.88 ERA in his past five outings with the Dodgers. Four of those were starts, including a five-inning one-run performance that gave him the win over the New York Yankees on Aug. 24.