Tony Gonsolin Credits Dodgers Defense In ‘Gritty’ Start Against Nationals

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Tony Gonsolin got through six innings for a second time this season, but his start against the Washington Nationals easily could have produced different results if it wasn’t for strong Los Angeles Dodgers defense and some good fortune.

Gonsolin held the Nationals to only one run on three hits, two walks and a hit batter. He threw just 70 pitches before giving way to the Dodgers bullpen.

“I felt like from pitch No. 1, I wasn’t super sharp,” Gonsolin said after the Dodgers’ 9-3 win. “I was really fortunate to have awesome defense. It’s what kept me in the ballgame. … Just be happy with the results and give all the praise to the defense. They played great.”

Gonsolin stranded one base runner in each of the first two innings before allowing traffic caught up to him in the third. The Nationals loaded the bases but had multiple instances of hard contact being hit right at a defender.

“I feel like everybody made a great play today. Just going out there and trusting the defense,” Gonsolin said.

Corey Dickerson’s deep fly ball to end the third inning wound up marking the start of Gonsolin retiring the final 11 batters faced.

“I definitely felt better in the backend. I feel like I synced up a little bit better with my mechanics,” he said. “But like I said, just went out there and tried to let the defense work. Those guys were hacking, and fortunately enough there were a lot of hard-hit balls right at guys.”

Tony Gonsolin had ‘gritty’ start

Despite Gonsolin only being at 70 pitches, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts turned to Alex Vesia in the seventh inning. Vesia allowed two runs that cut the Dodgers’ lead to 4-3 and came out after retiring just two of six batters.

Although the decision nearly backfired, Roberts felt it prudent to not push Gonsolin any further.

“I thought from the first pitch he didn’t have much. It was just a gritty performance,” Roberts said. “There were a lot of hard outs, so for me, to make sure we keep him healthy and strong, I felt that was the time to pull the chute.

“He wanted to stay in there, like I would expect, but it’s not only the short term but the longterm I’ve got to appreciate. … He was working behind hitters, curveball up in the zone a lot, changeup was missing arm side, fastball wasn’t commanded. He did a good job of getting outs when he needed to, but certainly not his best stuff.”

Roberts also shared in the belief of the Dodgers backing up Gonsolin with their defensive play.

“It did. (Max) Muncy made a couple nice plays, Mookie (Betts) is just a special athlete. He looks like an All-Star second baseman,” Roberts said.

“The J-Hey (Jason Heyward) ball coming in was a big play, and the (David) Peralta ball down the line, made a nice sliding catch. (James) Outman had a lot of running. I think all in all, the defense was really good.”

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