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Dodgers notes: Tony Gonsolin’s split-change, Mookie Betts helping Austin Barnes

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More from Monday night’s win over the Mariners

Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Let’s catch up on a few key notes from Tuesday night’s Dodgers win over the Mariners, including starter Tony Gonsolin, who pitched six scoreless innings, and catcher Austin Barnes, who reached base three times, stole a base, and scored both Los Angeles runs.

The split-change

Baseball Savant classifies Gonsolin’s main non-fastball pitch as a split-finger, while others call it a split-change. It’s sort of both, in a way.

“It looks like a splitter grip, but mentally I’m throwing a changeup,” Gonsolin said Tuesday night. “That’s why I think it’s called the split-change, but I can go either way with it.

Gonsolin said he started developing the pitch in spring training 2017, with guest instructor and former Dodgers pitcher Joel Peralta, whom he’s worked with on the pitch over the last few years. Gonsolin said the grip he uses is similar to the one Peralta used when he pitched.

Gonsolin has thrown his split-change 38.4 percent of the time this season, compared to 25 percent last year. He threw it 28 times on Tuesday and got four swing and misses out of the pitch, including a strikeout of Dan Vogelbach in the second inning.

“It’s a special pitch. I haven’t seen something like it, and the crazy part is his ability to control it,” Barnes said. “Usually, splits are feel pitches and it’s kind of hard to pound the zone with it, but hit hand speed with it makes it a plus pitch and really big weapon.”

A little help

Barnes had two hits for the fifth time in seven games, and during his hitting streak he’s 12-for-24 (.500) with a home run, a double, and a walk. That’s raised his batting average from .091 to .304, and his OPS from .258 to .738. Barnes also has a .419 batting average on balls in play on the season, so take some of this with a grain of salt. But after getting no results for the first two weeks Barnes is getting all the results in the last week plus.

“In the batter’s box, he just has a confidence now, and he’s taking swings with conviction. He’s worked really hard,” Dave Roberts said. “With Mookie, with the hitting guys, it’s been a It’s been a long process. But Austin’s in a really good place.”

Barnes said Mookie Betts approached him, offering batting advice.

“He’s actually been in the cage with me, watching me swing. It just shows you what kind of teammate he is, taking time out of his day,” Barnes said. “He has a great feel for his swing obviously, and he’s always making little tinkers and little adjustments. He just thought he’d help, and he really has.”

Links

  • Keibert Ruiz, who homered in his major league debut on Sunday, revealed Tuesday that he was late reporting to camp after contracting COVID-19. Ken Gurnick at MLB.com has more.
  • Max Muncy is rated by FanGraphs as having the 35th-highest trade value in MLB. Craig Edwards has more.
  • Old friend Kenta Maeda took a no-hitter into the ninth on Tuesday but settled for a no-decision. Maeda struck out 12, including a Twins-record eight consecutive Ks at one point, wrote Do-Hyoung Park at MLB.com.
  • If the Reds and Royals play at least one of their scheduled two games on Wednesday, MLB has a chance at its first day since July 26 on which all 30 teams played.