After beating the Atlanta Braves behind rookie starting pitchers on back-to-back nights, the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers will turn to veteran Tony Gonsolin as they go for a three-game series sweep on Wednesday.
The Dodgers are 9-2 in their past 11 games against the Braves and are 4-1 during that time in Atlanta.
The finale features a pair of right-handers, as Gonsolin (2-1, 1.13 ERA) will be matched against Atlanta’s Bryce Elder (3-0, 2.06).
Gonsolin allowed one hit through five scoreless innings during his latest outing, on Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals, and he earned his second straight win. He walked three, struck out three and threw a season-high 94 pitches. He has not allowed an earned run over his past three starts covering 16 innings.
“I feel like the first two or three innings felt really long,” Gonsolin said after being the Cardinals 5-0. “Threw a lot of pitches, and the fourth and fifth innings were a little better. Overall, just kind of threw too many pitches.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, “I didn’t think he was as sharp as he had been his last three outings. Fastball velocity was down. I don’t think the slider was as sharp. The split was good at times, but up at times. I think he just did a good job competing and using what he had to limit runs.”
Gonsolin has made three career starts against the Braves, going 1-0 with a 1.15 ERA. He received no-decision in his latest start against Atlanta on June 26, 2022, when he allowed one run on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
Elder will be making his 10th start of the season. In his latest outing, on Friday against the Seattle Mariners, he pitched six-plus innings and allowed two runs on seven hits and one walk with six strikeouts but did not receive a decision in a game the Braves won 6-2.
“I made two bad pitches, otherwise I was pleased with it,” Elder said. “I’m not trying to do anything more than what I have. I want to be able to go deep in games.”
Elder has pitched at least five innings in every start and has worked at least six innings five times. That has given the bullpen some breathing room.
“He had good tempo, threw strikes,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said after the Friday game. “A lot of good things. He’s trusting his stuff and has been really good for a long time now.”
Elder has never faced the Dodgers.
A pair of former Braves who are wearing Dodgers uniforms have come back to haunt their former team in the series.
Jason Heyward didn’t play on Monday but returned to go 2-for-4 with a home run on Tuesday. Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 13 games on Tuesday, and he is 4-for-9 in the series. Freeman is batting .442 (23-for-52) with four homers, seven doubles, one triple, 17 RBIs and 13 runs during the streak.
The Dodgers hit two home runs on Tuesday, giving them 81 this season, second in the majors behind only the Tampa Bay Rays’ 95.
Atlanta scored in the first inning on Tuesday for the fifth straight game. The Braves’ 42 first-inning runs are the most in baseball.
–Field Level Media