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Dodgers: Roberts Praises David Price and Jimmy Nelson, Talks Importance of Fifth Starter



The biggest strength of the Dodgers so far this season has been the solid production from the starting pitching. Even with the loss of Dustin May, just as he was starting to come into his own, Los Angeles has been lead by its four-man rotation. Despite their occasional blowups, the bullpen has also played a big role every fifth day.

While having a bullpen game has its drawbacks, it’s worked out for the Dodgers to this point. When asked about how he thought the team absorbed the workload of not having a fifth starter, Dave Roberts spoke about how pleased with the pen, especially two specific pitchers. 

“The guys in the pen, namely David Price and Jimmy Nelson, really stepped up. I think that those guys, being able to take down some innings, and also we had a chance to learn about some others guys. Some guys that are here with us and some guys that are not, so to have that I think it was four of those bullpen games, we weathered it and got through it as good as we could’ve hoped.”

Cat Man is Back

Of course, holding bullpen games over the length of a full season would not be ideal for any team. Thankfully for Los Angeles, help has finally arrived in the form of Tony “Cat Man” Gonsolin. The 27-year old right-hander was electric during the shortened 2020 season but has been sidelined so far this year due to inflammation in his throwing shoulder. However, he’s slated to return and make his season debut on Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Having him back in the fold will allow Roberts to shift how he utilizes the bullpen and could also help with limiting innings of Walker Buehler and Julio Urías who are quickly approaching their career highs in innings pitched. Doc mentioned how Gonsolin’s return is a big help for the team as a whole.

“Having Tony’s (Gonsolin) innings is certainly – having that fifth starter’s, whoever it might be – is certainly crucial. I think we managed pretty well with those 4 bullpen games. But, having the ability to distribute bullpen usage a little bit more to potentially cut back on usage from a couple guys I think is only a good thing.”

If Gonsolin can tap into his 2020 self, then this rotation should only get more dangerous than what it already is. His fresh arm should allow for the pen as well as his rotation mates to get some rest as the team will need all hands on deck down the stretch.

NEXT: A Deep Dive Into How Hitting Has Not Been Great For LA

Written by Adam Salcido

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  1. Somebody please drive a stake into the heart of these bullpen games. Between Gonsolin, Price, and Nelson we have guys to fill in the 5 rotation spot. Only if they all come up way short do we need to start thinking about a trade for another starter. Give them real shots at starting. Not just 2 inning openers.

    • The problem w/ the 3 of them is they start to crash the 3rd inning of work or the 2nd time around. They still need to be stretched out yet after recovering from injury. But they could piggyback each other…..like righty, lefty, righty and confuse the opponent trying to make his line up. Can be a fun game.

  2. Finally, I saw some aggressive swings from key guys like Betts last night! Listening to Nomar echo my sentiments in the booth last night was also gratifying. I remember when Mark McGwire was our hitting coach, he preached about being ready to hit the minute you step into the batters box. This is a philosophy that combined with no chase ideaology, would make any offense very lethal. Still, if a pitcher is piping a pitch, why watch it go by? Hit it…hit it hard and take your chances. Why approach the batters box looking to walk? If a pitcher refuses to throw strikes, then so be it. Nevertheless, the only thing Robert’s has ever said that I agree with is, the team goes as Mookie goes. Here’s to hoping for another aggressive offensive episode tonight.

  3. I have seen this type of pitching by Gonsolin before. He is still learning and I struggle with him in the 5th rotation as a starter. I barley trust Julio but I do…….have too right know. There is nothing wrong with using a bull pen game and really Its fun to see the many choices the Manager has. For a starter you have to be great already, and great Tony is not yet. He know this I’m certain

    • Go find a fifth starter with a lifetime 2.65 ERA and under 1 WHIP for minimum wage, then come back here and tell us how inadequate Gonsolin is.

    • Urias is 9-2, best record for Dodger starters and not to mention 7 RBI’s in critical situations…..best clutch hitter on staff !

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