Sports

Tony Gonsolin goes to 10-0 with gem as Dodgers defeat Padres

One of Friday night’s starting pitchers at Dodger Stadium has already won a Cy Young Award.

However, in the Dodgers’ 5-1 win over the San Diego Padres, it was the other that cemented his place in the midseason debate for this year’s honor.

In what may have been the best start of his career, Tony Gonsolin stole the show in front of 48,076 at the Chavez Ravine by giving up just one run in his personal best 7⅔ innings to cement his grip on the major’s best earned run average.

To get his ERA down to 1.54, Gonsolin did what he did best in the first half of this breakthrough season.

He attacked across the board. He mustered eight strikeouts, but more importantly, mastered his newfound efficiency, retiring 19 batters on four pitches or fewer.

His fastball wasn’t buzzing, more than a tick below his season average at 91.8 mph. But his trademark splitter and slider were deadly, combining 13 swings and misses as he mowed through a collapsing Padres lineup.

Gonsolin doesn’t have as many innings as other National League starters due to some short preseason starts.

On Friday, he wasn’t even qualified for the majors’ individual leaderboards and started the night with an inning just short of the one-inning minimum (one inning for each game played by a team of players).

But by the end of his outing — his 11th straight of at least five innings and seventh that streak to have gone at least six — he also had the best baseball record (10-0), WHIP (.81), and batting average against (.154) to go along with his unprecedented ERA.

Padres starter Blake Snell, winner of the 2018 American League Cy Young Award, was also impressive on Friday, recording all but three of his outs via a punchout.

However, he had to contend with constant traffic. After Max Muncy’s solo cracker opened the scoring in the second inning, Snell faced a base jam in the fourth, runners in second and third place in the fourth and two more on board in the fifth.

Max Muncy of the Dodgers and Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell watch the flight of Muncy's homer in the second inning on July 1, 2022.

Dodgers’ Max Muncy and Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell watch the flight of Muncy’s solo homer in the second inning. Snell hit 12 in five innings.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

He escaped every squeeze but was forced out of the game after throwing 107 pitches in five innings.

And when he left, the Dodgers quickly took the lead in a tie game — the Padres scored their only run against Gonsolin with a fifth-inning homer from Trent Grisham.

Cody Bellinger hit a solo home run in sixth place. Freddie Freeman hit an RBI single the other way in the seventh. And by the time Gonsolin wrapped up his outing, the Dodgers were on track for a third straight win, tackling a few insurance runs in the eighth to ensure Gonsolin’s jewel wasn’t wasted.

The Dodgers' Cody Bellinger rounds bases after hitting a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning on July 1, 2022.

The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger rounds bases after hitting a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Mookie Betts back in “a few days”

Mookie Betts continued to increase the workload of his rehabilitation after breaking a rib on Friday.

He took shots off a pitching machine, ran the bases and was mostly feeling good afterwards when manager Dave Roberts stated Betts could be back “in the next few days”.

While Roberts didn’t give a more specific timetable – he said it was still unclear if Betts would be able to return before the end of the weekend – he nonetheless said it bodes well for the former MVP, who has been out since suffering a rib injury in an outfield collision with Bellinger on March 15 June.

“What we wanted to achieve, he’s trying his best and passing this test,” said Roberts. “Grab some ground balls, throw them, reach out. I just spoke to him and he said everything feels good.”

Roberts reiterated that Betts will likely come back to play second base, where he wouldn’t be as concerned with short throws in infield.

Roberts said Betts, who has told the team he doesn’t feel comfortable being the designated batsman, will need to be careful not to dive on his return — on the field or while managing bases.

The final step for Betts will be the live pitch he is scheduled to make against Caleb Ferguson, who is also on the injured list, on Saturday.

“That’s probably the last box he has to check,” Roberts said.

Ian Gibaut activated

A day after he was recalled from the waivers by the Cleveland Guardians, right-handed pitcher Ian Gibaut was activated by the Dodgers, who optioned Justin Bruhl on a corresponding move.

Gibaut, 28, has played in 28 games in four seasons with four different teams in the majors. He made one appearance for the Guardians on Monday before being called up for action and claimed by the Dodgers.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-07-01/tony-gonsolin-gem-stays-unbeaten-dodgers-defeat-padres Tony Gonsolin goes to 10-0 with gem as Dodgers defeat Padres

Emma Bowman

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