Banged-up Dodgers turn to Tony Gonsolin vs. Cards

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers have sustained multiple pitching injuries this year, most recently Dustin May’s flexor pronator strain, which could sideline him for a prolonged period.

So, they have welcomed Tony Gonsolin’s comeback from his spring training ankle injury with particular enthusiasm. Gonsolin (1-1, 1.42 ERA) will make his fifth start of the season Friday in the second game of their four-part series against the host St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals won 16-8 Thursday night, handing the Dodgers just their second loss in nine games.

Gonsolin didn’t allow an earned run over 11 innings over his last two starts, a 9-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers and a 4-0 victory over the San Diego Padres.

“I thought my fastball command was some of the best it’s been since I debuted in ’19. I think that really saved me today,” the right-hander said after beating the Padres on Sunday. “I definitely feel great, health-wise, feel good, building more confidence every day and just trusting that everything is working.”

As he rebuilt arm strength after overcoming his ankle injury, Gonsolin regained his previous velocity.

“I think it was just a matter of time before it crept back up to what it was at the end of last year,” he said. “Definitely encouraging, for sure.”

Gonsolin is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in three career starts against the Cardinals.

He is catching the Cardinals in a hot streak that produced nine victories in their last 11 games. “The guys feel good about where they’re at right now,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “Individually, we have a lot of guys playing with confidence. So we like it.”

St. Louis will counter Gonsolin with lefty Steven Matz (0-4, 5.62).

The Cardinals won Matz’s last two starts, against the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox. He allowed four runs on 13 hits in 10 2/3 innings combined in those outings.

Nonetheless, Matz was encouraged after the start against the Red Sox.

“I think this was the best my stuff was all year,” he said. “I was happy with all of my pitches. I think everything was good today. It was a step in the right direction.”

In particular, Matz was able to make better use of his curveball.

“It felt good about it,” he said. “It was mostly down. I felt they were just missing a little bit off the plate. I was happy about it.”

Matz has yet to complete six innings in a start this season, so he is focused on working deeper into games. The keys, he said, is to “just be aggressive, attack the guys early, don’t fall behind. Give up less hits.”

He is 3-1 with a 3.68 ERA in five career starts against the Dodgers.

With May landing on in the injured list, pitchers Justin Bruihl and Andre Jackson moved up from Triple-A for this series, and Dylan Covey was designated for assignment. Also, pitcher Michael Grove is on the road trip as taxi squad insurance in case the Dodgers have another injury.

Cardinals infielder/outfielder Tommy Edman is questionable for this game after exiting Thursday’s contest in the third inning with lower abdominal soreness. Playing right field, he collided with center fielder Lars Nootbaar while making a catch.

–Field Level Media

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