It was former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson who, in response to a question about Evander Holyfield’s fight plan for an upcoming fight, famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin entered the ring Friday night and immediately took a punch to the chin for the second consecutive start, when his second pitch of the game was driven 120 yards to center right for a home run by Miami designated hitter Jorge Soler .
But unlike last Sunday’s game, when Gonsolin responded to a first-pitch home run with six shutout innings, he had no plan to fight the Marlins after taking that hit.
Miami batted the 29-year-old right-hander for 10 runs and eight hits—five of which were home runs—in 3⅓ innings of an 11-3 win at Chavez Ravine that left Gonsolin battered and bruised and the Dodgers’ 11-game winning streak in shambles.
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“I don’t think he had life in his fastball,” manager Dave Roberts said of Gonsolin. “He missed a lot of throws, and if he needed swing and miss or soft contact, he didn’t have that with his breaking ball.” and all his secondary pitches… He just wasn’t sharp all over.
Gonsolin, an All-Star last year, had not given up more than five earned runs or two home runs in any of his 70 starts, but he became the first Dodger to give up five home runs in a game since Hall of Famer Don Sutton in a 5 -4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 7, 1973.
It was all a huge step backwards for a pitcher who thought he had turned a corner in a very disappointing injury-plagued season that included last Sunday’s victory over the Colorado Rockies. Instead, Gonsolin dropped to 8-5 with a 4.98 ERA, raising more questions about whether he’s worthy of a playoff rotation spot, as well as his health.
Roberts has had vague references to Gonsolin “not 100%” for several weeks, but after Friday night’s game he publicly acknowledged for the first time that Gonsolin had been dealing with an “arm problem” for the past four to six weeks.
Gonsolin, who missed the last five weeks of the 2022 season due to a right forearm strain, said the ailment is in his elbow and it affects his gear more than command.
Roberts said the team’s medical staff assured him that Gonsolin would not cause further damage to his arm by throwing, but he hinted that the team will reassess that approach, a decision that will likely see Gonsolin make a trip to the injured list. will mean.
“Tony goes out and does what he can, and sometimes his stuff is good, the fastball is good,” said Roberts. “But physically he’s not 100 per cent. I think we’ll sit with Tony [Saturday] and find out if a clap, a pause, getting out of here makes sense.”
Would the Dodgers have shut down Gonsolin in early July if their rotation wasn’t so injury-ravaged at the time?
“No, not necessarily,” Roberts said. “There are very few pitchers who are 100%. If you’re not going to make what you’re dealing with worse, and you can get the ball and you can have the speed, the stuff, and you feel you can pull out premier league batters… I think he deserved the right and deserved to get out and start.”
The Dodgers responded to Soler’s volley with a long ball of their own, Mookie Betts tied the score at 1-1 with a 120-yard shot to center Miami ace Sandy Alcantara in the bottom of the 1st, giving Betts a franchise record 11 . homers this season and 47 in his career.
Gonsolin retired the side in the second inning, but Soler led off the third by pulverizing a 93 mph fastball, sending his 32nd homer of the season 141 feet into the pavilion at left center for a 2-1 Marlins lead .
Josh Bell walked with one out, Jazz Chisolm singled and Jake Burger drove a three-run homer — his 27th of the season — into the center point for a 5-1 lead. Jesus Sanchez singled with two outs, and Jacob Stallings capped the six-run blowout with a two-run homer to center for a 7–1 lead.
With a split doubleheader scheduled for Saturday, Roberts sent Gonsolin back to the mound for the fourth, hoping his starter could eat at least a few more innings to keep the bullpen.
The Marlins thwarted that plan when Soler led off with a walk, Luis Arráez doubled to right, and Chisolm hit a towering drive just inside the rightfield foul pole for a three-run homer and a 10-1 lead, prompting Roberts to Gonsolin to retreat. in favor of right-hander Gus Varland.
“I thought the ball came out well today,” said Gonsolin. “I thought I had some good pitches that got hit really hard, but overall I feel like I just didn’t do very well. I fell behind on a lot of points, I ran with a lot of guys… and I put our bullpen in one [crappy] situation.”
Varland pitched 1⅔ innings for the Dodgers, giving up one run, left-hander Victor González threw two scoreless innings, left-hander Alex Vesia added a scoreless eighth, and shortstop Miguel Rojas made his second pitching appearance of the season and retired the side in order in the ninth.
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With the score so lopsided, Betts, first baseman Freddie Freeman and right fielder Jason Heyward were all pulled through the fifth inning, Heyward left the game after aggravating a hip injury on a sliding flyout.
Alcantara, the winner of the 2022 National League Cy Young Award, gave up solo homers to Max Muncy—the 29th of the season for the Dodgers’ third baseman—in the fourth and James Outman (his 15th) in the fifth, the some other blemishes on a six-inning start, three runs, seven hits and six strikeouts that the right-hander improved to 6-10 with a 4.11 ERA.
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This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.