Dodgers’ Gonsolin debuts as full-time starter vs. Rockies

Sports

No longer left to wonder when his next start will come, Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Tony Gonsolin will take his permanent spot in the rotation for a spin when he faces the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.

The Rockies will counter with right-hander German Marquez, who has a solid history against the Dodgers, especially when pitching at Los Angeles.

Gonsolin was made an official part of the Dodgers’ five-man rotation when right-hander Ross Stripling was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday. It means the Dodgers now have a rotation of future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw, along with four other arms that do not have more than five years of experience: Julio Urias, Walker Buehler, Dustin May and Gonsolin.

Gonsolin (0-0, 0.51 earned-run average) has made four starts this season, all in a fill-in role, when injuries or the need to push the rotation back a day have arisen. None of those have come against the Rockies, though, and he has just one career relief outing against them, a four-inning stint last season when he gave up one run.

Those fill-in starts were enough to let the Dodgers’ front office know that Gonsolin’s time has arrived. He did not give up a run in any of his first three outings and gave up just one Sunday to the Texas Rangers in three innings.

With slightly less than 300 pitches thrown this season, and with only one outing of at least five innings, the Dodgers figure to air out the 26-year-old a little more down the stretch.

“We made the decision going forward to put Tony in the rotation,” Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers president of baseball operations, told reporters. “We have a ton of personal and professional respect for Ross and believe he’s a major league starting pitcher. We didn’t feel comfortable putting him in the bullpen. … We felt (the trade) was in everyone’s best interests.”

Marquez (2-5, 4.88) has a 1.99 ERA in five career starts at Dodger Stadium. His most recent start there came June 21, 2019, when he gave up one run over eight innings. But in line with the Rockies’ run bad luck in Los Angeles, Colorado finished that day with a 4-2 defeat when Matt Beaty hit a game-ending home run to give the win to Buehler, who struck out 16 in the game.

On Friday, the Rockies got an eighth-inning grand slam from Kevin Pillar, in his third game with the team, to take a 6-5 lead. But this is the Rockies in L.A. so, of course, the Dodgers hit three home runs in the bottom of the inning to pull away 10-6.

The Dodgers now have won 17 of their past 18 against the Rockies in Dodger Stadium and an impressive 24 of their last 28 overall against their National League West rival.

In case anybody on the Rockies loses hope or confidence, Pillar will remind them how talented the group is.

“These guys have been the best I’ve ever seen,” Pillar told reporters Thursday. “It’s allowed me, a new guy who naturally is, you know, trying to have this moment where he feels like he belongs — feel like I’ve arrived. Not that they put that pressure on me. They’ve embraced me with open arms.”

The Dodgers (30-10) have won 19 of their past 22 games. The Rockies (18-20) have gone the opposite direction, dropping 17 of their past 24 contests.

–Field Level Media

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