Heading into the Aug. 12 match-up against the San Diego Padres, the Los Angeles Dodgers had a weird aura around them and it felt as if they weren’t playing as well as they should have been. After all, they did lose three of their previous four games, including the previous two against the Friars.
Perhaps the cloudiness that covered their recent play was caused by the Colorado Rockies‘ mile-high start to the season, or maybe it was the Padres rising in the standings. Nevertheless, second year pitcher, Tony Gonsolin, gave the team a starting pitching performance they desperately needed.
For those that watch the Dodgers regularly, these mini-team slumps feel somewhat magnified with the roster and depth that the system has. During these moments of lackluster play, it seems as though the Dodgers can’t string anything together and if they do, they usually fail to produce with runners in scoring position.
In the majority of games, the team has overwhelmingly put up most of their runs in the second half of the game, usually starting around the fifth inning. Out of the teams’ 96 runs so far, 69 of those have come in the fifth or later.
What does this mean? It means that it usually takes a bit for the bats to wake up.
In the four games before Gonsolin’s start, three of the four Dodger starting pitchers (Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May, Ross Stripling) all came away with losses, while Walker Buehler added a no-decision to his record. During those four games, the Dodgers only scored two runs before the sixth inning, compared to their 11 after.
To cover for the lopsided amount of runs put up beyond the fourth inning, the starting rotation has to pitch pretty well to carry the team beyond the fourth and into the fifth.
Gonsolin in his second start of the season and first since July 31, did exactly that.
The 26-year-old threw a career high, eight strikeouts in his 4.2 innings against the Padres. He also stuck out the side twice, in the second and fourth inning. Sure, he came away with a no-decision, but that result does not fall on him.
Gonsolin pitched so well, Twitter fans voted him player of the game for his Aug. 12 performance against a red-hot Fernando Tatis Jr. and NL West rival Padres.
In his two starts this season, the young right-hander, has pitched 8.2 innings allowing only four runs, two walks all while striking out nine.
*Stats (some or all) from: MLB/Statcast, Baseball-Reference/Stathead, ESPN.
**Stats are accurate as of published date.
***Step Into The Box makes every effort to be as accurate as possible. Grammar, spelling and other style errors will be automatically fixed. If a more serious, factual error is unfortunately made, an edit will be added the end of the piece.