Heading into the 2022 season, the Los Angeles offense was touted as being one of the potential best in recent Dodgers history, with names like Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Trea Turner, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy leading a cast of All-Star sluggers.
While some of these players have certainly had solid first halves to the season, it’s been the Los Angeles pitching that has carried most of the load. Even though several key starters like Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Andrew Heaney have spent significant time on the injured list, the Dodgers still have one of the best starting rotations in the majors.
Much of that success has come from 28-year-righty Tony Gonsolin. Without his services, it’s hard to say where the team would be right now in the standings, especially when considering how many key pitchers have already been injured.
With two weeks remaining before the All-Star break, Gonsolin is leading the world in almost every starting pitching category. He should be the starter for the National League All-Star squad, if skipper Dave Roberts decides to pattern his remaining first-half starts around the Midsummer Classic’s schedule. It’s an honor that Gonsolin deserves to experience, and there’s no reason Roberts shouldn’t do everything possible to make it happen.
Ironically, being named as a member of the 2022 NL All-Star team was one of Gonsolin’s goals entering the season.
“Coming into the season, in the offseason and during the lockout, it’s really what my goal was this year,” Gonsolin said in early June. “It was to come back, feel good, be healthy and do my best to try to make the All-Star team. That was one of my main goals this year personally. So, we’ll see what happens with that. We’ve got another month and a half.”
Regardless, Gonsolin was the second major league pitcher to notch 10 wins this year, despite the win category often being one of the most overrated pitching statistics. Wins do, however, suggest how well the Dodgers have performed whenever Gonsolin takes the bump, which says a lot.
Both his 273 ERA+ and his 0.820 WHIP also lead the entire major leagues.
Gonsolin is coming off one of his best major league outing of the season on Friday night, having thrown 7-2/3 innings against the Padres and surrendering just one earned run on four hits and no walks while striking out eight batters.
However, the 6-foot-3 Vacaville native is entering a new personal territory as far as innings pitched go. He currently sits at 81-2/3 innings for the season. His previous career high in the majors was 55-2/3 last year. In the minors, he threw a combined 128.0 innings across two levels in 2018, a total he can conceivably hit in early August if he stays on pace.
While many pundits will credit Gonsolin’s improved command and the effectiveness of his splitter to his success in 2022, it could be his confidence on the mound that has been the most significant factor.
“My mechanics are pretty similar to years past,” Gonsolin said. “The difference this year is going after hitters and attacking them — just having more confidence that my stuff is going to work.”