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Tony Gonsolin staying ready for Game 4, with Dodgers pitching plans still TBD

Tuesday is still technically TBD vs. TBD, for now

MLB: NLDS-Workouts D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers aren’t yet ready to reveal their pitching plans for Game 4, but Tony Gonsolin figures to be on the mound at some point. It’s just a matter of when, and for how long.

“I’m pitching tomorrow, at some point,” Gonsolin said before Game 3.

Gonsolin’s availability for Game 4 seems obvious, as he’s the only pitcher on the roster with any length who will be available on Tuesday. That was buttressed when Gonsolin met with reporters before Game 3 on Monday, usually a spot reserved for the next day’s starting pitcher.

Catcher Will Smith earlier during his interview session mentioned Gonsolin as pitching in Game 4.

But nothing is official just yet, with manager Dave Roberts only willing to say Monday that Gonsolin was an option to pitch Tuesday.

“I don’t want to set that in stone just yet,” Roberts said. “He’s a possibility, but that’s probably as far as I want to go with that.”

To be fair, Roberts isn’t alone in holding his cards extremely close to his vest. Right-hander Anthony DeSclafani started 31 games for the Giants this season, and would be the most rested option for Game 4. But manager Gabe Kapler wasn’t ready to reveal his plans a day in advance.

“Tony will be ready tonight if needed. I don’t think that’s the highest likelihood or the best possibility, but’s he’s going to be ready for that,” Kapler said. “He’s also a great candidate to start tomorrow’s game for us.”

There’s also the matter of getting through Game 3 first, which will go a long way in determining the plans for Game 4.

“If you can tell be the usage tonight, I can give you a better answer,” Roberts said. “Once we get out of tonight, I think it will be more clear for everyone.”

Gonsolin is no stranger to intermittent use in October. The Dodgers sweeping the first two rounds of the playoffs didn’t leave room for him to pitch, and his first NLCS start was pushed up by Clayton Kershaw’s back tightness. His Game 2 start against the Braves was Gonsolin’s first game action in 18 days, and he allowed five runs in 4⅓ innings. His other three postseason games totaled five innings, in which he allowed four runs, including three home runs.

“It was a good learning opportunity,” Gonsolin said Monday. “I didn’t pitch very well last year, but in hindsight there’s a lot there’s a lot to learn from it.”

This season, Gonsolin has been hampered by shoulder inflammation, which sidelined him for a total of 95 games on two separate injured list stints. Both Gonsolin and Roberts say the shoulder issues are behind him, but the results have been mixed since returning from the IL in September.

Tony Gonsolin before and after second injured list stint

Dates IP BB rate K rate HR Avg. 4-seam FB ERA FIP
Dates IP BB rate K rate HR Avg. 4-seam FB ERA FIP
through July 30 35⅔ 16.5% 26.6% 4 93.4 2.78 4.46
since Sep. 9 20 9.9% 24.7% 4 94.7 4.05 4.67
Sources: Baseball Reference & Baseball Savant

Gonsolin last pitched during the regular season on September 30, but also threw to Dodgers hitters in a simulated game during last Thursday’s workout at Oracle Park in San Francisco the day before Game 1 of the NLDS.

Whenever Gonsolin pitches in Game 4, it’s a decent bet he’ll be on a relatively short leash. He’s faced more than 18 batters just four times in 15 games this season, and did so just once in his four postseason games last October.

“With Tony, it’s just trying to be consistent in the delivery. There’s been times when he’s thrown the baseball extremely well, and other times he’s trying to feel for his mix,” Roberts said. “I think where he’s at as far as physical, he’s fine. It’s just kind of honing in the other parts, which lead to execution.”