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Struggling D-backs offense gears up for Tony Gonsolin, Dodgers

Sportsnaut
Apr 25, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith (16) high-fives starting pitcher Walker Buehler (21) after throwing a three-hit complete game, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-0 at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-Arizona RepublicMlb Los Angeles Dodgers At Arizona Diamondbacks
Credit: Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tony Gonsolin might have the best overall numbers of any Los Angeles Dodgers starter this season, yet he still will have to follow one of the best outings in the major leagues when he takes the mound Tuesday.

After the Dodgers’ Walker Buehler pitched the first shutout in the majors Monday, throwing the most pitches of anybody in a 2022 outing (108), Gonsolin will have his work cut out for him if he wants to top it. He pitches in the middle game of a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Phoenix.

Gonsolin (1-0, 0.69 ERA) most recent fired six scoreless innings against the World Series champion Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, when he gave up just one hit and none over the first five innings. He has surrendered just one run over his three starts and none since his first inning of the season on April 9.

“Getting that weak contact earlier in the count was definitely effective,” said Gonsolin, who leaned on his slider and recorded 10 ground-ball outs. Buehler’s 10-strikeout outing was keyed by his curveball.

Gonsolin’s early exploits have helped the Dodgers post a major-league-leading 2.08 ERA. In nine career appearances (eight starts) against Arizona, Gonsolin is 2-2 with a 3.62 ERA.

Cody Bellinger has been powering the Dodgers’ potent offense. He was just named National League Player of the Week after going 7-for-23 (.304) with three home runs and a 1.174 OPS in a six-game stretch.

“I’m just coming in every day and focusing on what’s important, just trying to be consistent and stay healthy,” said Bellinger, who dealt with shoulder and leg injuries last season that limited him to 10 home runs, 36 RBIs and a .542 OPS. “Those are the two most important things.”

While the Diamondbacks haven’t been hitting or playing defense all that well, they at least have been getting some pitching. Arizona’s starting staff has with an impressive 2.53 ERA that ranks third in the majors behind the Dodgers (2.09) and the New York Mets (2.29).

Right-hander Zach Davies (1-1, 5.02) will take the mound for Arizona on Tuesday with a load of confidence. He is 4-3 in nine career starts against the Dodgers with a 2.11 ERA.

Davies earned his first victory of the season Thursday when he gave up two runs on two hits over five innings against the Washington Nationals.

Arizona made a number of roster moves before Monday’s game, reinstating outfielder Jordan Luplow from the 10-day injured list while also recalling left-hander Tyler Gilbert from Triple-A Reno. The club also designated 40-year-old left-hander Oliver Perez for assignment and optioned outfielder Jake McCarthy to Reno.

“(Luplow) is going to play right and center,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “I’m really anxious to get him in there and allow him to go out and perform.”

Luplow flied out as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning Monday, while Gilbert gave up one run on two hits over three innings with three strikeouts.

Arizona has one of the worst offenses in baseball in the early going, sitting toward the bottom of the major leagues in runs scored (49) and OPS (.593). The Diamondbacks had just three hit Monday, all singles, and the third didn’t come until David Peralta had one with two outs in the ninth inning.

–Field Level Media