The fluffy tunes have become the wildest tunes at Dodger Stadium this year.
In any other context, the song “Smelly Cat” from the 1990’s TV show “Friends” or the Tom Jones single “What’s New Pussycat?” can be used. or “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin, would hardly frighten an opponent.
But every time they’re played by Dodger Stadium organist Dieter Ruehle these days, it’s an indication that the Dodgers’ “Catman” is purring up the hill again.
That was the case in the Dodgers’ 5-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, when Tony Gonsolin — the self-proclaimed cat fanatic who thrived on the field during a career-best start to the season — gave up just two runs in seven innings to the team to help to his fourth win in a row.
As usual, the right-hander was efficient, needing just 93 pitches to go seven innings for a second straight game.
He attacked the strike zone and issued no walks for the third time this season while amassing three strikeouts.
He maintained his spot at the top of the Major ERA leaderboard, finishing the night with a grade of 1.62 and improving his record to 11-0, becoming the only pitcher in Los Angeles Dodgers history alongside Alex Wood to who started the season with 11 straight wins.
Gonsolin’s only damage came from Christopher Morel’s double home run in the fifth inning, by which point the Dodgers had a 4-0 lead on long balls from Mookie Betts (his first of two that night, giving him 20 on the season), Gavin Lux (a two-run blaster in the second) and Justin Turner (a solo homer in the fourth).
Aside from that, Gonsolin’s evening was filled with nothing but gentle touches on the Cubs lineup, easy tunes for the Dodgers defense, and cat-inspired musical choices – with “meow” sound effects interspersed throughout.
There was late drama after Gonsolin left the hill.
In the eighth inning, Brusdar Graterol left the game after four pitches with complaints on the right, the team later said.
In the ninth, closer Craig Kimbrel failed to finish the game, recording just two outs before getting into trouble – giving up a single RBI double and nine-pitch walk to get the tie runs on base – and was drawn with a pitch Count to 31.
Alex Vesia took the final, beating Nelson Velazquez to end the game.
Gonsolin is likely to conquer the mound again next week in St. Louis, by which time his first career All-Star selection should be guaranteed. The league will announce the full rosters for the Midsummer Classic on Sunday.
The only real question: Will the 28-year-old be picked to start the game at his home stadium on July 19, a decision resting with Braves manager Brian Snitker, who will oversee the National League team.
“I think he deserves it,” Roberts said when asked Thursday if Gonsolin should be the NL’s starting pitcher. “But ultimately, Brian Snitker has to make this difficult decision.”
A tough decision indeed. While Gonsolin is also the league leader in WHIP (.80) and batting average against (.157), Miami Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara has a strong case, with a 1.82 ERA over an MLB-most 1231/3 innings.
So does Atlanta Braves left-hander Max Fried, who lags behind only Alcantara in the Fangraphs version of wins over the spare.
Then there’s teammate Clayton Kershaw, who has a 2.57 ERA and represents perhaps the most sentimental choice to start in what may be his last season as a Dodger, even after missing a month with a back injury.
Meanwhile, Roberts said he was most impressed by Gonsolin’s increasingly sharp focus and growing confidence.
“He’s in the moment,” Roberts said. “He’s not worried about the All-Star Game. He’s not worried about his last start or his next start. And I think right now, when a player can be in the moment, it just gives you the best chance of success.”
https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-07-07/tony-gonsolins-bid-for-the-all-star-start-gets-boost-in-dodgers-win-over-cubs Tony Gonsolin earns 11th win in Dodgers’ 5-3 win over Cubs