The Dodgers send Tony Gonsolin to the mound on Tuesday, hoping for him to continue his good vibes, for however long it goes.
Gonsolin pitched four scoreless innings on July 31 in Arizona, then upped that to 4⅔ innings of zeroes last Wednesday at home against San Diego. Rich Hill began his Dodgers career with three scoreless starts in 2016, but that was after getting acquired at the trade deadline.
The last Dodgers pitcher to start his season with three scoreless games of at least four innings was Wheezer Dell for Brooklyn in 1916.
Whether it matters what Gonsolin does on Tuesday against the Mariners remains to be seen, regarding his rotation status. He’s the sixth starter right now, and the Dodgers have next Monday off. They won’t need a sixth starter — if they decided to keep everyone on at least five days rest for a while — until Sunday, Aug. 30.
So even if it’s Gonsolin making that start, the Dodgers could conceivably option him after Tuesday’s start, and he’d still be eligible to return in time. The Dodgers could use that roster spot in the interim for an extra reliever (to help compensate for the looming activation and suspension serving by Joe Kelly) or an extra position player (Edwin Rios on the injured list gives the team only 12 position players, mitigated somewhat by the fact that pinch-hitting and using reserves has been scarce this season).
Then again, they could just keep Gonsolin in the rotation and move Ross Stripling (5.76 ERA, 6.27 FIP, team-high eight home runs allowed) to the bullpen.
There’s also the looming return of Alex Wood, which takes a necessary step on Tuesday with a three-inning simulated game. He’d need another four-inning simulated game before the Dodgers are ready to activate him, but just plotting it out, Wood would essentially be in line to return on August 30, when the Dodgers would next need a sixth starter.
But that’s all stuff to worry about the future. For now, Gonsolin starts for the Dodgers in this one: “We’ve got tonight, babe. Why don’t you stay.”
Time: 4:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA