DENVER -- Tony Gonsolin was called up from Triple-A to pitch at Coors Field Tuesday night, threw a four-inning save in the Dodgers’ 9-4 win over the Rockies and was told afterward he’s going back to Triple-A.
Such is the roller-coaster life of a rookie on the best team in baseball. But while the front office makes final calls before Wednesday’s Trade Deadline, looking to bolster the bullpen, Gonsolin said he hopes his first MLB save gets him into the conversation for a role down the stretch and beyond.
“I’d like to think so,” said Gonsolin, whose only previous big league appearance was an unfortunate four-inning start and Dodgers loss in Arizona on June 26. “It’s all about doing whatever I can to help the team while I’m up here.”
While a trade in the coming hours could force an audible, manager Dave Roberts said the club intends to activate Dylan Floro from the injured list on Wednesday and send down Gonsolin, who made 49 pitches and would need the rest of a starter before he’s available again.
Gonsolin not only impressed the Dodgers, he probably impressed any club the Dodgers are talking to as they seek veteran relievers of the ilk of the Pirates’ Felipe Vazquez, the Reds’ Raisel Iglesias or the Tigers’ Shane Green, while hanging on to top prospects the likes of Gavin Lux, Dustin May and Keibert Ruiz, ranked by MLB Pipeline Nos. 1-3 in the organization, respectively.
Gonsolin is ranked the franchise’s No. 6 prospect, the type of MLB-ready pitcher most selling teams covet. But, so do the Dodgers.
“It was all about his fastball command tonight,” said Roberts. “Saved the ‘pen and, just more importantly for Tony, just the confidence. For any pitcher, in this ballpark, it’s a leap of faith, and we showed the confidence and he didn’t let the conditions affect him.”
While recording the Dodgers' first four-inning save since Kenta Maeda in 2017 and the club's first by rookie since Matt Herges in 2000, Gonsolin outperformed spot-starter Julio Urias, another weapon management figures to lean on down the stretch and into October. But in this game, Urias lasted only 2 2/3 innings, charged with three runs on six hits. It was only his second start since April and his sixth start of the season.
Catcher Russell Martin, who hit one of four Dodgers homers before playing through a lower back tweak suffered during a third-inning at-bat, said Gonsolin was “amazing.”
“Pounding fastball down, mixing changeup, using the slider,” said Martin. “Even the first game in Arizona, I thought he threw the ball well, got unlucky with some defense, we didn’t pick him up. Tonight, Coors Field, sometimes guys’ stuff doesn’t act the same. He was lights-out today. If you can do it here, you can do it anywhere.
Gonsolin was one of many newcomers to step up for the Dodgers on Tuesday. Kristopher Negrón, in his first at-bat with the club, was one of four Dodgers to homer. Tyler White, in his first start at first base, singled home two runs for his first Dodgers hit. Casey Sadler, in his sixth appearance, was credited with his first win since 2015 after turning in 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Urias.