Right-hander Tony Gonsolin — who has been dominant with a 16-1 record and a 2.10 ERA — will make his next case for the Cy Young Award on Monday night when his Los Angeles Dodgers conclude their four-game series against the host Miami Marlins.
Gonsolin will be opposed by Marlins right-hander Pablo Lopez (8-8, 3.66).
Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara — who beat the Dodgers with a brilliant nine-inning, 111-pitch effort on Saturday night — is Gonsolin’s main rival for the Cy Young Award.
“I know it’s happening,” Gonsolin said of the Cy Young race. “But I’m trying not to get ahead of myself. My goal is to get a little bit better” with each start.
That may be hard to do given how good Gonsolin has been, allowing two earned runs or fewer 20 times in 23 starts this season.
Gonsolin, who has yet to face Miami this season, has no decisions or ERA in his career either, having made one start against them last season and tossing 5 1/3 scoreless innings.
In his Cy Young battle against Alcantara, Gonsolin leads the majors in batting average against and is tied with Atlanta’s Kyle Wright and Houston’s Justin Verlander in wins.
Alcantara leads the majors in innings pitched (185 2/3) and complete games (four).
In terms of ERA, Gonsolin (2.10) and Alcantara (2.13) rank first and second in the National League.
But Gonsolin, who would become the Dodgers’ first Cy Young Award winner since Clayton Kershaw in 2014, has a bigger aspiration.
“Our goal is to win the championship,” Gonsolin said. “I go out there to try to give our team a chance to win every game.”
Lopez, meanwhile, is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers. Both of those starts came last season.
The Marlins are 13-12 this year when Lopez starts. He had lost three straight decisions before a win on Tuesday, when he pitched six scoreless innings to be the Athletics in Oakland.
“I’m grateful for every single opportunity,” Lopez said. “I’m not taking anything for granted.”
Lopez is hoping that beating Oakland was the start of a turnaround because he had a 2.86 ERA in 18 starts in the first half of this season. In seven starts since then, he has a 6.00 ERA.
Oddly, Lopez has been better on the road (3.08 ERA) than at home (4.36).
Lopez on Monday will try to be the only Marlins starter this week to keep Dodgers star Mookie Betts in check.
In the first three games of this series, Betts is hitting 8-for-15 with four homers, two doubles and seven RBIs.
On the other end of the spectrum is Dodgers infielder Chris Taylor, who hit just .143 in July. In August, he is batting only .197, although he doubled on Sunday.
“It feels like he is searching,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Taylor. “Certainly, it’s not a lack of effort. … I expect he will work through it.”
–Field Level Media