Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Tony Gonsolin has gone from a potential first-time participant in the All-Star Game to a possible National League starter, and he will have another chance to make his case Friday against the visiting San Diego Padres.
Adding intrigue to Gonsolin's All-Star credentials is the fact that the game will be played at Dodger Stadium for the first time since 1980. That is also where the Dodgers and Padres will meet Friday after Los Angeles won 3-1 in the opener of a four-game series Thursday.
Gonsolin (9-0, 1.58 ERA) has not allowed more than two earned runs in a start this season, and he enters off an outing Sunday against the World Series champion Atlanta Braves in which he gave up one run over 5 2/3 innings. He would lead the major leagues in ERA except he is just under the necessary innings pitched to qualify.
Expected to be a key piece at the bottom of the Los Angeles rotation, Gonsolin has instead emerged as the lead dog with both Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw spending some time on the injured list. Teammate Julio Urias also is pitching well and is vying for his own All-Star spot.
"So we know that it's a good head, it's confidence, it's an athletic body, it's a good arm with weapons," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said about Gonsolin. "But to see it over this stretch, I don't think even in '20 he was this good for this stretch of time.
"This is a new ballplayer that's gained a lot of confidence. We don't know where it's going to lead us but he's doing a lot of good things for us."
Gonsolin hasn't faced the Padres this season, but his lifetime success against San Diego mirrors what he is doing in 2022. Gonsolin is 2-0 all time against the Padres with a 1.96 ERA in four appearances (three starts).
While the Padres sent their own potential All-Star to the mound Thursday in right-hander Joe Musgrove, they will follow with left-hander Blake Snell (0-5, 5.60) on Friday.
It was a June to forget for Snell, who gave up four earned runs in three of his four starts during the month. Adding to that misery is the fact that he hit the Philadelphia Phillies' Bryce Harper in the thumb with a pitch Saturday and knocked him out of action for about two months.
Padres manager Bob Melvin said it looked like Snell was close to finding himself again after Saturday's outing, but the final numbers suggested otherwise.
"The results obviously make me pretty angry, with how they've been," Snell said Saturday. "But I've been locating the ball. I'm in the zone more. I'm getting ahead a lot better. Everything's getting better. The results aren't showing that. So it's really frustrating."
Snell has not faced the Dodgers this season and is 1-0 with a 1.75 ERA in six regular-season starts against them. He famously held the Dodgers in check during Game 6 of the 2020 World Series, but was removed despite dominating into the sixth inning and Los Angeles rallied to win the game and clinch the title.
The Padres welcomed Manny Machado back Thursday after he missed nine games with a sprained left ankle. Machado went 1-for-4 and scored a run but struck out three times.
Justin Turner led the Dodgers' offense with two home runs, his first multi-homer game since Sept. 7 of last season.
--Field Level Media