The Dodgers only scored two runs, but it held up thanks to the star of the night, starter Tony Gonsolin, who continued his winning ways with seven scoreless innings in a 2-1 win over the Brewers.
Gonsolin is having marvelous 2022 campaign, making his first All-Star game and pitching like a legitimate Cy Young candidate in a year in which he is now the second starter on the depth chart — and not necessarily trailing Julio Urías by much.
With Walker Buehler done for the year, and Clayton Kershaw out indefinitely, the Dodgers are going to need to rely more and more on Gonsolin for a deep postseason run, and even through the end of the regular season, as the team looks to clinch the division and top seed in baseball.
Tonight was a perfect example of that need and how Gonsolin has responded tremendously. The Dodgers had everything lined up for one of their most impressive wins after dropping Tuesday’s extra- affair, on a blown save by Craig Kimbrel.
The bullpen was taxed heading into Wednesday game. Evan Phillips was unavailable after back-to-back nights, and the team needed not only an effective outing but a deep one from Gonsolin, something that even in a remarkably successful 2022 campaign, he hasn't been able to do — this was his fifth start longer than six innings this season. That will probably cost Gonsolin a Cy Young chance despite his remarkable overall numbers, with NL favorite Sandy Alcantara having pitched 50 more innings.
Gonsolin tossed a masterful seven innings of scoreless ball while only allowing three baserunners to reach (two hits and one walk) and punching out eight batters. The slider looked particularly filthy, with five whiffs on nine swings by Brewers' hitters.
The Dodgers starter was also efficient, needing only 95 pitches to get through seven innings, so it wasn't like Dave Roberts was forced to go out of his comfort zone by letting Gonsolin tack on a higher pitch count than usual.
On the offensive side of the ball, the offense once again failed to do much of anything against Eric Lauer. The left-hander has owned the Dodgers throughout his career, with a 2.56 ERA in 10 starts. Wednesday was his only career loss to Los Angeles.
The script felt very similar early on, with the Dodgers failing to capitalize on a run-scoring opportunity with multiple runners on in the opening inning. It was costly in Tuesday’s loss and put a more considerable onus on Gonsolin and the bullpen, as neither worked with much of a margin for error.
Craig Kimbrel had his first one-run save of the year, and that statement gives no sense of security to the Dodgers given the way it went down, with the tying run in scoring position, and the winning run on base thanks to a two-out single and walk. But Kimbrel got three groundouts to close it out.
Home runs: Austin Barnes (5), Max Muncy (15)
WP — Tony Gonsolin (15-1): 7 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
LP — Eric Lauer (8-5): 7 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Sv — Craig Kimbrel (21): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk
Andrew Heaney takes the ball against the reigning NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes in the series finale on Thursday afternoon (11:10 a.m. PT; SportsNet LA, MLB Network).