With the Los Angeles Dodgers facing a possible need for a fourth starter come the postseason while also looking to assemble a capable bullpen, rookies Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May have received opportunities to audition for both roles.
Both made their MLB debut with a start, then Gonsolin’s next time pitching was out of the bullpen. He impressed en route to converting a four-inning save at Coors Field.
Meanwhile, May rattled off three starts before being placed in the bullpen. That came on the same day Gonsolin returned from Triple-A Oklahoma City to make a start against the Atlanta Braves.
May struggled in the relief appearance, allowing a grand slam that gave Atlanta a lead. He then completed a second inning of work.
Now poised to again appear out of the bullpen in Sunday’s series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks, May explained there won’t be any significant changes other than to approach it like a start, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
May said he doesn’t plan to make any significant changes in his warmup routine. But mentally, he expects to be better prepared for his second relief outing.
“I’m going to take a different mindset,” he said. “I’m going to take a mindset of just getting prepared as if it was another start. I’ll do everything the same, just start later and wait for the call.
“I’m excited (for a second chance at pitching out of the bullpen). I feel like there was some nerves the first time. This one is going to be more familiar.”
After the shaky relief appearance, the 21-year-old suggested he likely would need to find a new routine if he was to be used out of the bullpen. May’s next time on the mound was a start at Petco Park. He breezed through five innings before enduring familiar struggles in the sixth.
At the time of announcing May would be inserted back into the rotation as a means of providing starters with an extra day of rest between outings, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts noted the club would continue trying the right-hander as a relief pitcher as well.
“I think the next time it happens he’ll feel a little more comfortable,” Roberts said of experimenting with May as a reliever. “We’re going to continue to keep our options open with Dustin.”
May is expected to piggyback Ross Stripling, who is returning from the 10-day injured list and will likely only log two or three innings.