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The New and Improved Tony Gonsolin


The Dodgers defeated the New York Mets 2-0 on Thursday night at Chavez Ravine. It was a tight pitching duel between Tijuan Walker and Dodger’s right hander Tony Gonsolin. The win was memorable since it snapped the club’s three game losing streak (after being swept by the Pirates) but perhaps it’s more memorable for marking the official coming up of catman Tony Gonsolin.

It’s important to recognize when a player figures it out and turns the corner, and Gonsolin has certainly done so this season. Gonsolin was originally a ninth round pick out of Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga California. I actually don’t know where Moraga is, but I know where Gonsolin’s 2022 season is heading and it could be in the direction of an all-star appearance or even a trophy.

Gonsolin has been an effective pitcher at times, but I considered him to be slightly better than a minor leaguer. He has had good stuff, but his pitch sequencing was never good. He was never able to avoid the big inning. He was normally consistent in the regular season posting an ERA of 2.93 during his debut season in 2019, and 2.31 in 2020 with good strikeout to walk numbers. However he was horrible in the postseason, posting an ungodly 9.45 ERA across 13.1 frames. I always thought of him as useful to have around for some bulk frames, but never to be ever counted on for big games. Things are changing.

This season the Dodgers have needed him more than ever. Clayton Kershaw has been out since May 13 with a hip injury, and first look free agent Andrew Heany made only two starts before hurting his shoulder (big shock) and landing on the injured list for the rest of the season. While the Dodgers still have Walker Buehler and Julio Urias bolstering the rotation, and the surprisingly effective Tyler Anderson (Thank you Tyler!) but beyond them they essentially have nobody. The depth is so poor that the only other starters are triple-A prospects that would normally be one or two seasons away (Ryan Pepiot, Andre Jackson) or overrated replacement level minor leaguers (Michael Grove) that should never pitch in a major league game for the Dodgers again. If it weren’t for Gonsolin the Dodgers would be in a pitching pickle.

It seems the brunt of Gonsolin’s new found success has come from an improved slider. It’s become his out-pitch and with the emergence of his slider, the rest of his pitches have become sharper. He’s throwing his slider more than ever and getting a lot of swings and misses, or a lot of grounders. His ground ball percentage of 48.7% is the highest of his career. His flyball percentage is the lowest it’s ever been as is his hard-hit rate. He’s getting more ground balls and allowing less line drives. That’s a recipe for success.

The one area where he had the most difficulty has been length. He would have good outings but rarely pitch past the third or fourth inning in the majority of his starts. This year not only has he been far more efficient, but the Dodgers are stretching him out, and it’s working. So far through ten starts Gonsolin has pitched into the fifth inning in seven of those starts, including his six shutout innings tonight against the Mets. He’s pitched into the sixth inning in five of those starts.

Tonight he was flawless, tossing six shutout frames versus the Mets, allowing just two hits and striking out five. He walked just one and made 89 pitches. He’s now made at least 89 pitches or more (including three appearances in a row where he made 90) in his last four starts and the Dodgers are letting him. You see this is what happens when you let your starters pitch, you get rewarded.

Gonsolin’s season thus far has been the real reward. Overall he is now 6-0  with a 1.59 ERA. He’s struck out 49 and walked just 17 while posting a 0.9 WHIP. He’s kept the ball in the park too, allowing just three home runs in 51 innings of work. Some credit should be given to the Dodger’s amazing coaching staff for pointing Gonsolin in the right direction. Most of all we should be praising the hard work of Tony. He’s had an incredible start to the 2022 season. Kudos to the Catman. He’s been perfection this year.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

10 thoughts on “The New and Improved Tony Gonsolin

  1. Well, Tony Gonsolin has stepped up to the plate and delivered way beyond my expectations, and has finally earned my respect. Pitching All-Star caliber baseball.

    At a time when our two “Aces” have battled issues, our 4th (and 5th) starters have kept the Blue Machine atop of the NL West. Yes, even Tyler Anderson has also earned my respect. Urias is pitching well, but has been bit by the long ball, and not getting the run support he received last season. Kershaw, once again plagued by injury, and Buehler battling the long ball and inconsistencies.

    The sputtering offense is not providing our starters with the run support expected by this potentially powerful All-Star lineup, as they still succumb to their Achilles Heel, “RISP”. Most frustrating is their slow start, sputtering through the first three to four innings, before finally waking up in the late innings, more times than not, too little to late.

    With all the problems that Kershaw, Buehler, Kimbrel, Bellinger, Treinen, and Muncy have faced, the Dodgers are still in 1st. They might not hold the lead for long, if they continue to play down to inferior opponents. Disappointing losses to teams like the Phillies, Pirates, and Colorado are unacceptable, in my book.

    Kudos to Tony Gonsolin! I would be surprised if he does not make the All-Stars this year.

  2. It’s really hard not to be overly optimistic with this team.

    Best in the NL.

    Great farm system.

    Wonderful player development (especially pitchers, as here with Gonsolin).

    High working budgets.

    Perhaps the best and most admired front office.

    It’s great.

    Remember those dingbats with the silly #FireFriedman nonsense?

    1. I think you forget about the early years where the front office gave over 60 million dollars to guys like Brett Anderson, Brandon Mccarthy and Logan Forsythe. And let’s not talk about Bauer.Things are much better the last few years. There have been ups and downs, but generally a great organization.

      1. Eh, that stuff always happens. Duffy, Bauer, kahnle, pujols, peters

        Even the great orgs make mistakes, just it’s hard to fixate on them.

  3. Well, LGBTQ night, and the Dodgers are finally honoring Glenn Burke’s family tonight. The Dodgers had remained hush-hush about Burke’s sexual preference, and the negative prejudicial treatment he received during his years with the Dodgers.

    Burke was never acknowledged to be the first openly gay baseball player, and others have come out of the closet to falsely claim to be the first. There were rumors that Burke was getting too close to Lasorda’s son, who was also gay. After being offered $75K by the Dodgers to put up a false front and marry a woman, Burke refused, and the Dodgers proceeded trade him to the Oakland A’s. It was then that A’s Manager, Billy Martin, introduced Burke to his new teammates as a “fa***t”, and it was soon after, Burke quit MLB Baseball after being shunned by his teammates and getting little playing time.

    ….still no mention of Glenn Burke on SportsnetLA pre-game show. 😕 Don’t know if, or how the pregame ceremony went.

    1. Beautiful game by Mitch White. He ran into trouble in the 5th, but wiggled himself out of a jam, for 5 scoreless innings, and only two hits. Wasted effort…DR yanks him after only 69 pitches.

      In comes the bullpen. Bickford struggles through 2/3 of an inning, DR brings in a washed up Price, who allows a two out pinch hit double to AJ Pollock, followed by an RBI double by the next batter. On two pitches! Geez! Then, he intentionally walks a .143 batter to then surrender an RBI single to a .223 batter. What a loser. Price is killing them. They should get rid of him and take a loss.

      No help from the offense, AGAIN! Same old story, same old tune. 0-7 RISP. Ninth inning 4 runs down, Trea Turner leads off with a single and steals 2nd. Runner on 2nd, nobody out… what do the next three batters do? Swinging from their heels, they can only muster 3 long fly ball outs. No productive hitting.

      Unacceptable. Embarrassing. Pathetic.

  4. Well, after winning the first two games of a critical matchup against the NL East leading Mets with their 4th and 5th starters (Gonsolin and Anderson), the timid Dodgers failed to go for the jugular, their ace Buehler melted down, and once again the bats failed to offer any run support to Urias, who pitched a game worthy of a win, but lost, thanks to their piss poor record in extra innings, and failure of the offense (RISP) and Kimbrel (again!).

    Offense is either feast or famine. Way too many K’s (especially caught looking), long fly balls, hitting right into the shift, or soft ground outs or GIDP. Need more productive hitting, especially with the dead ball this year.

    The ghost runner rule stinks, but they have to learn to live with it. The rule does not play to the Dodgers’ inability to move runners, play small ball, and score with RISP. So, DR needs to change his approach in extras, and stop having his hitters swing for the fences.

    DR’s continual habit of bringing in his closer early, when his team is behind needs to stop. Kimbrel is not accustomed to go more than 1 inning, and should only be used in save situations. He is not an elite closer, and is not much of an improvement from Kenley… maybe even less effective than Jansen. The bullpen is already showing wear and tear. Inability to get 6-7 innings from Urias and Buehler does not help. Bullpen is also becoming too predictable, with DR calling on the same guys again and again, in same matchup situations….opposing hitters knowing what is coming. Bazooka Boy and Vesia, used almost daily, are having a hard time filling Treinen’s shoes as a setup man.

    So, although they are still 1st in the NL West, they are only 1/3 into the season, and they look tired and worn. Need pitching now! Can we afford wait for the return of Heaney, Kershaw, and Treinen? And even if they return, there is no guarantee that they will be game ready and back, 100%.

    1. Well, lost the first two to the hated ones. Lack of urgency. Sloppy play, offensive woes continue (LOB, RISP “again”. Top of lineup is totally out of sync), poor starting pitching (now Buehler out for 3 months, Kershaw not very effective) , lack of a legit closer (Kimbrel needs insurance runs, S/A Kenley did). Muncy really not ready (return game against Mets was a fluke. His 2-14 at OKC was not worthy enough to give Muncy the green light).

      These losses to SF hurt even more, when you think back on the games they blew to Phils and Pirates)… very embarrassing. Hard to chose any All-Stars. Offensive lineup is just too inconsistent. I just hope Gonsolin and Urias make the pitching staff. Urias chances may be jeopardized by poor W/L record, due to lackluster offensive support.

      This team is just not worthy of possible World Series appearance at this point, unless they snap out of it and just play baseball.

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