Gonsolin, Anderson make positive impressions

April 10th, 2022

DENVER -- As loaded as the Dodgers’ roster is on paper, there’s still one area of the team that worries manager Dave Roberts and the front office the most.

While Roberts and the Dodgers have Walker Buehler, Julio Urias and Clayton Kershaw leading the way in the starting rotation, the backend of the rotation and the overall starting pitching depth is the team’s biggest question mark early in the 2022 season.

The Dodgers are hoping Tony Gonsolin can solidify one of the two backend spots in the rotation. Tyler Anderson is their best option to provide quality bulk innings out of the bullpen. Both of them were able to make positive impressions despite the Dodgers’ 3-2 loss to the Rockies on Saturday at Coors Field.

“I thought we put ourselves in a good spot to prevent runs tonight,” Roberts said.

Gonsolin battled his command early, and the Rockies pounced, taking a 1-0 lead in the first.

The right-hander, however, was able to lean on his splitter and allowed just one run over three innings. Gonsolin needed 62 pitches to get the nine outs, ending his night just a little bit before the Dodgers had planned.

Coming in behind Gonsolin, Anderson delivered the most encouraging outing of the night. The veteran left-hander allowed one run and struck out four over four innings of work. He kept the Rockies’ lineup off balance and came away pleased with the fact that he didn’t allow a single free pass.

Piggybacking Gonsolin and Anderson could be something the Dodgers do often this season. It won’t always line up perfectly, but the duo will play a big role in what the Dodgers are able to accomplish over the next few months.

“He was great. He was fantastic,” Roberts said of Anderson. “He gave us four solid innings and gave us a chance to win.”

Anderson and Gonsolin gave the Dodgers plenty of chances to take a commanding lead, but that never happened. Rockies’ starter Germán Márquez was dominant and almost completely shut down the Dodgers’ potent lineup, giving up one run in seven innings. After Austin Barnes’ solo homer in the third, Marquez retired 12 of the next 13 batters he faced.

“He’s got a quick arm. His fastball gets on you. Then his slider, especially here -- it’s a bunch of different sliders. Sometimes it’s a true slider, a little sweeping and sometimes it cuts a little,” Barnes said. “He’s tough. He always pitches us tough.”

Over the first two games of the season, the Dodgers’ lineup has yet to showcase its full potential. There was a glimpse of it during a five-run fourth inning Friday. Outside of that frame, the Dodgers have scored just two runs in 17 innings.

“I liked the at-bat quality [Saturday],” Roberts said. “We have a chance to win tonight with all that said. So my encouragement is just go out there and keep taking good at-bats.”

Though the Dodgers’ offense struggled to get much going Saturday, they were also hurt by a couple of baserunning and defensive mistakes. In the first, Mookie Betts threw a perfect strike to home, beating Kris Bryant by a couple of steps. But as Barnes secured the throw from Betts, Bryant slid into Barnes’ glove, popping the ball loose.

Then in the eighth, Freddie Freeman nearly delivered the knockout punch with a three-run homer, sending a deep fly ball all the way to the wall that ultimately landed in Sam Hilliard’s glove in deep center field.

On the play, Barnes, who was standing at second, ran halfway down to third base and wasn’t able to take the extra bag after the deep flyout. His other option was to stand on second base and tag up. Trea Turner hit an infield single that might’ve scored Barnes had he elected to tag.

“That’s a tough one,” Barnes said. “With one out, usually you score on any ball, especially in this park with as much area as there is out there. I thought Freeman hit it good. I wasn’t sure. I thought he kind of went back on it a little weird at the wall, kind of gave a little jump. … It’s just a read you have to make.”

All the miscues ultimately ended with Blake Treinen allowing a game-winning homer to Connor Joe with two outs in the eighth.

Treinen allowed just five homers last season. It was a fitting ending to an unusual game for the Dodgers.

“It’s always unfortunate being the last one on the mound and being the reason for the loss,” Treinen said. “Tomorrow is a new day, and [I will] try to get my mind ready for the next time my name is called.”