Righty pitcher Tony Gonsolin has always embraced each role the Dodgers put him in over the last three years; but for the first time in his career, he’s opening the season in the big-league starting rotation — the role in which he’s most comfortable.
More importantly, Gonsolin is healthy, giving him the chance to cement a spot in the starting five over the course of the entire regular season.
“He looks great,” skipper Dave Roberts said of Gonsolin towards the end of 2022 Cactus League play. “I think with Tony, it’s kind of the bounce back. In years past, last year in particular, it was a good start, but then in his side work, he just didn’t feel as good. And then the next start or outing, the velocity was way down. Now, he’s holding his stuff and that speaks to being healthy.”
Early during 2021 spring training, it appeared as if Gonsolin would be a contender for a starting role in a crowded rotation battle, but a shoulder injury landed him on the injured list for the first two months of the year. The same injury threw him back on the DL for another 40+ days in August and September, leaving many pundits wondering about his future in a top-heavy Los Angeles rotation.
In between injuries last year, the 27-year-old Vacaville resident was decent, pitching to the tune of a 4-1 record with a 3.23 ERA and 65 punchouts over 55-2/3 innings of work. He did have a whopping 34 walks last season, though, which was extremely untypical considering how much of a control artist he was in his early major league days.
Over the course of his MLB career, Gonsolin has made 35 regular season appearances — 27 of which were starts — posting a 2.85 ERA and a respectable 1.089 WHIP with 148 punchouts and 56 walks in 142-1/3 innings.
It should be interesting to keep an eye on Gonsolin’s four-seam, as his velocity has dropped recently compared to his first two major league seasons. In 2022 Cactus League play, his heater sat in between 92 and 93 MPH after averaging right around 95 in his early days as a big leaguer. Nevertheless, his repertoire is one of the most diverse on the team, and his splitter is among the deadliest in baseball when it’s working right.
In Game 2 on Saturday, Gonsolin opposes Colorado righty starter German Marquez, who was the team’s best starting pitcher in 2021. Marquez was the only All-Star for the Rockies last year, going 12-11 with a 4.40 ERA, a 3.86 FIP and a 108 ERA+ over 32 starts.
Marquez was much better in the first half of the 2021 season. After the All-Star break, the 27-year-old Venezuelan native put up an ERA of 6.12 over 13 starts.
Saturday’s first pitch is set for 5:10 p.m. Pacific time.