Solid debut showcases May's potential

21-year-old will start again Wednesday as October audition continues

August 3rd, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- On the 97th pitch, the game got away from Dustin May. But for enough of his MLB debut, a 21-year-old with one MLB start under his belt showed why he’s in the conversation for October baseball.

The Dodgers lost to the Padres, 5-2, at Dodger Stadium, wasting ’s 100th career home run and spoiling the storyline for May, who took a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning.

Beginning a two-month tryout for a postseason role on the pitching staff, May was charged with four runs (three earned) on nine hits, three strikeouts and no walks. He’ll again fill in for the injured Ross Stripling and start Wednesday against St. Louis.

“It’s a great feeling knowing they have my back and feel I can get the job done,” May said. “Better execution next time and we’ll come out with a ‘W’.”

The Dodgers’ best pitching prospect and the game’s No. 35 prospect, as ranked by MLB Pipeline, faced one batter too many. It was Josh Naylor, whose two-run double off the center-field fence with two outs in the sixth inning gave San Diego a 4-2 lead and hung the loss on May.

“I felt that last inning, his pitch count was right where it needed to be. I thought he had a good chance to get out of it,” said manager Dave Roberts, who saw May allow hits to four of the last five batters he faced before bringing in Pedro Baez.

May, whose sinker peaked at 98.4 mph in an amped-up first inning, had tailed off to 93.8 mph on Naylor’s double.

“He didn’t seem tired to me,” said catcher Will Smith. “A couple of bad spots with some pitches and they hit them.”

May took the loss, but left to a standing ovation.

“That was really, really awesome,” said May. “It was one of those dream-come-trues, it was surreal. I was super excited, a feeling you can’t describe, over the top. I felt I settled down in the second inning. The first inning was a little jumpy, all over the place.”

May induced double-play grounders in the first and second innings, but the latter came after a throwing error by first baseman Tyler White led to an unearned run. Smith back-picked Francisco Mejia off second base to rescue May from a fifth-inning jam, but the wheels came off in the sixth as May was allowed to approach the 100-pitch mark.

“I just left some pitches up and they hit them,” said May. “They weren’t down like they were earlier in the game and they hit the mistakes.”

If San Diego was able to exploit a tiring, young pitcher, that was by design.

“We had a lot of good quality at-bats early,” said San Diego manager Andy Green. “We drove his pitch count up. ... Pitch count got up, and yeah, there's some fatigue to that to every single pitcher. We made him work and finally got to him in the sixth.”