After struggling through the first three starts of his MLB career, Gavin Stone was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City prior to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ matchup against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.
Stone allowed a combined 17 runs (16 earned) on 23 hits and seven walks in just 10 innings pitched. “I still stand by it was a good opportunity for him and good experience,” manager Dave Roberts said of Stone’s stint with the Dodgers.
“So just to kind of go down there and work on commanding the fastball. I think in the Minor Leagues, you have a lot more margin for mistakes and get away with them. And also when he does get two strikes, to be able to put hitters away with the breaking ball and changeup.”
Stone had the tough task of facing three talented lineups in the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays, which Roberts acknowledged was a difficult ask. “Given who he faced, very good,” Roberts said of Stone’s confidence remaining high.
“I think as a competitor, you never want to get it handed to you. But I do think with Gavin’s toughness, he’ll take from it and know he’ll be ready when he gets back up here.”
Stone was inserted into the Dodgers starting rotation when Dustin May suffered a right flexor pronator strain that forced him to the 15-day injured list. May was transferred to the 60-day IL shortly after.
The expectation was Stone would remain in that spot for the foreseeable future, but he will now likely be replaced by Michael Grove, who is nearing a return.
Dave Roberts proud of Gavin Stone
Roberts detailed the conversations he had with Stone in recent days and praised him for being understanding of his demotion. “It was more lauding him for the way he’s managed some struggles and how he continued to go out there and compete,” Roberts explained.
“He was filling up the strike zone his last start. The stuff was good, didn’t walk any guys, but like I said, couldn’t put any hitters away. So I think that’s part of it, and just understanding there’s a learning curve for everyone.”
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