Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Although Dustin May returned from Tommy John surgery last August, this year represents his first full season back in the Los Angeles Dodgers starting rotation.
May got off to a dazzling start in his 2023 debut and followed it with two more encouraging outings before a bump in the road against the New York Mets. On the season he’s 4-1 with a 2.68 ERA and 0.94 WHIP heading into Wednesday’s start in the series finale against the Minnesota Twins.
“I feel fine. There’s still room to improve on executing throws but I feel OK. Doing alright,” May said of his 2023 season thus far. “It’s good to be able to go out and compete.”
May’s performance in his last start against the San Diego Padres on May 12 was solid as he gave up only two earned runs in 6.2 innings pitched, which the Dodgers’ offense was able to recover from thanks to back-to-back homers from Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.
If there’s been one consistent negative for the right-hander this year it’s a decline in strikeouts. However, May has appeared to make an improvement.
In late April, his 4.88 strikeouts per nine innings were the fewest among qualified starters. Now, it’s at 6.1 strikeouts per nine. But those aren’t his primary focus.
“I’m just trying to get outs,” May asserted.
One aspect that May has carried into this year is pitching with plenty of emotion on the mound and showing that in key moments.
“I always pitch with my emotions on my sleeve. It’s just getting back into the swing of things,” he said. “Coming off of (Tommy John surgery), I was getting out of rehab mode and getting back. Now I’m getting my legs back underneath me. I always like to show emotion. It’s just who I am. It doesn’t matter the situation, game or team we’re playing against.”
Dustin May has ‘done really good job of competing’
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has been pleased with what he’s seen from May this season and in particular with taking to adjusting his breaking ball.
“It seems like such a long time ago that he was in that rehab mode and then you have to recalibrate to compete mode and what this new normal looks like,” said Roberts.
“He’s just done a really good job of competing, being open to thoughts from our pitching guys of what can make him even better, he’s got a really good idea of his body and the way it moves. Now it’s just trusting his stuff will play in the strike zone.”
Roberts responded to May’s comments about pitching with emotion and agreed it was a positive, but only if it can be funneled in a way that’s conducive to performance.
“There’s nothing wrong with animation and emotion, it’s just got to be channeled the right way and at the right time. I think he’s starting to really understand that fine balance,” Roberts said.
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