The Dodgers' offense has struggled mightily as of late. As a team, they've lost nine of their last 14 games. The Dodgers continued to struggle to score against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night. They scored one run on a bases-loaded walk, and the other run was from a (much-needed) Mookie Betts solo homer. The Dodgers won this game thanks in large part to Tony Gonsolin.
Cat Man Do
Gonsolin's line Tuesday night looked like this:
6⅓ IP, 1 hit, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts.
This was Gonsolin's fifth scoreless start of the season. It lowered his MLB-best ERA to 1.42. At Dodger Stadium, the Cat Man has allowed only three total runs in 33⅓ innings. The only hit Gonsolin allowed was to reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani.
Pitching WAR can be a misleading statistic, but Gonsolin's already posted a 2.7 bWAR this season. To put that into more perspective, his career bWAR is 6.3. Gonsolin's ERA+ is sitting atop the league at 296. The league average for this statistic is 100. Gonsolin has also lowered his walk rate to 2.8 BB/9, the lowest of his career by far. In 2021, Gonsolin walked 34 batters in 55 innings. In 2022, he has walked just 20 over 63 1/3 frames. In a season where the Dodgers bullpen has had injuries, struggles, and question marks, Tuesday marked the sixth straight time Gonsolin lasted at least six innings. Gonsolin seemed proud of this accomplishment.
“I know I’ve struggled in years past to go deeper into games and even qualify for a win, so it feels good knowing that I’m getting deeper into games and giving us a chance to win.”
Indeed. Gonsolin's high fastball kept the Angels hitters guessing all evening.
“Fastball was really good today. I kind of felt it in the bullpen pregame, I felt like it had some life. Today was great. Splitter started coming around a little bit, executed it when I needed to. Slider came around a lot. Curveball was solid. But overall, fastball felt good.”
Stepping Up When In Need
Injuries have besieged the Dodgers pitching staff already in 2022. Clayton Kershaw missed a month with a back injury, and now Walker Buehler will be out for at least three months. Tony Gonsolin (along with Tyler Anderson) has stepped into the ace role, at least temporarily, and should now be in the Cy Young award conversation. Gonsolin is having a historic start to his season.
Gonsolin was in whispers of a lot of trade rumors in the last 2 to 3 seasons. He has always had a live fastball and a wicked split-finger but his walk rate was getting him into trouble. He had consistently underwhelmed for a top prospect and going into 2022 it looked like a lot of people had forgotten about his potential. Gonsolin has made sure to remind everyone they should never have doubted him. If he keeps this up, he's going to be in the Cy Young conversation as the season continues.
Go, Cat Man!