The Dodgers will start Tony Gonsolin in Game 2 of the World Series against the Rays on Wednesday, with the only question how long he will be able to pitch.
Gonsolin will be on two days rest after throwing 41 pitches in two-plus innings in Game 7 of the NLCS against the Braves on Sunday.
“He’s started, and come in from the ‘pen,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We just like him in this spot.”
Gonsolin struggled in the NLCS, allowing seven runs in 6⅓ innings, lacking the sharpness he showed in the regular season when he posted a 2.31 ERA and team-best 2.29 FIP with 46 strikeouts in 46⅔ innings. Because the Dodgers swept the first two rounds of the playoffs, Gonsolin went 16 days between appearances, and the rust was apparent with his six walks against the Braves compared to seven total walks during the season.
That Gonsolin will only be on two days rest suggests he won’t last long in Game 2 on Wednesday, but he will have support, especially after Clayton Kershaw’s six strong innings in Game 1 leaves a relatively rested bullpen heading into Wednesday, with an off day to follow.
“If you look at starters who can potentially take down a lot of innings tomorrow, we just don’t have that,” Roberts said before Game 1. “It’s going to be a bullpen game, using various arms.”
The Dodgers used three starting pitchers in Game 7, including Dustin May for one inning and 18 pitches and Julio Urías for three innings and 39 pitches to close it out. Both will be available to pitch in Game 3, at least in theory.
Walker Buehler is slated to go in Game 3 and Kershaw again in Game 5 — Roberts cited that pending start, which would be Kershaw’s second straight on four days rest, was a reason he was pulled after 78 pitches in Game 1, with a seven-run lead — that leaves Game 4 open.
Ideally, Urías would get that Game 4 start. He’s been arguably the Dodgers’ best pitcher this postseason and is more stretched out than May, who has been only used in short bursts in the last three weeks. May’s longest outing was two innings and 11 batters faced, and he’s totaled 7⅔ innings in his five appearances this postseason.
Roberts said earlier Tuesday that Urías is an option to start Game 4, but the Dodgers are just keeping their options open depending on how the games play out.
“[Starting Game 4] is certainly on the table, but understand that there’s three [now two] games prior that we might need him,” Roberts said before Game 1. “To keep that optionality just makes sense.”
Urías this postseason has allowed two runs (one earned) in 16 innings, with 16 strikeouts. He’s had two three-inning relief stints, a five-inning start, and a five-inning bulk relief appearance. He’s ready for anything.
“I’m sure they’ll have a decision for me and I’m going to respect that decision,” Urías said through a translator before Game 1. “It’s just making yourself available, and I’ll try to go out there and give 100 percent and try to help my team in whatever way possible.”