Cardinals @ Dodgers August 5, 2019: Gonsolin opens up series against St. Louis

After the Dodgers ninth walk-off victory of the season yesterday, the Dodgers now open up a three-game series against the second-place Cardinals. St. Louis has lost five of their last seven, and dropped both games of an awkward Saturday/Sunday weekend series in Oakland. The Dodgers played a four-game series in St. Louis in early April and got swept, being outscored 26-12. Those four losses were the first four of a season-long six game losing streak for the Dodgers, and their season was over just like that or something.

Cardinals
Dodgers
7:10 P.M.
Los Angeles
3B
Carpenter
RF
Pederson
CF
Fowler
2B
Muncy
1B
Goldschmidt
3B
Turner
LF
Ozuna
1B
Bellinger
SS
DeJong
C
Smith
RF
Martinez
SS
Seager
2B
Wong CF Negrón
C
Wieters
LF
Beaty
P
Wacha (R)
P
Gonsolin (R)

Tony Gonsolin starts tonight for his second career start. His first came in Arizona in June and it didn’t go great. He allowed six runs (four earned) in four innings, but battled and gave the Dodgers a few innings of length after a disastrous first inning. He retired the side in order once, but found himself in trouble in the other three innings. He was optioned back to the minors and recalled to appear in a game in Colorado last Tuesday. Julio Urias got the start in that game and lasted 2 2/3 innings, with Casey Sadler tossing the next 2 1/3 innings. Gonsolin threw the final four innings of the game and threw three perfect innings before allowing two singles and a double in the bottom of the ninth. He did rack up his first career save (and it was a four-inning save, which is fun) and looked sharp, but was optioned once again before returning to make this start in place of the injured Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Michael Wacha starts for the Cardinals today.

I just now realized that Bob hashtagged “#Stcards” and not “#Stlcards”. I have the utmost respect for a man that never deletes his terrible tweets.

Wacha’s rotation spot with the Cardinals is far from secure, as this is his first start since the fourth of July. He’s been used in long relief in each of his last three outings, relieving pitchers (Adam Wainwright and Daniel Ponce de Leon 2x) that have gotten roughed up early on in games. He’s made five relief appearances and 14 starts for the Cardinals this season and owns a 5.15 ERA/5.93 FIP and 1.661 WHIP in 85 2/3 innings. He’s been on a nice run in his three long relief outings, as he turned in 9 1/3 innings and allowed two runs in those appearances. He still allowed 12 hits and allowed each of his three inherited runners to score, but dropped his ERA nearly .40 points.

The Dodgers lit up Wacha in St. Louis, but obviously the Cardinals came back to win. He only lasted 3 2/3 innings, but allowed eight hits, seven runs and three homers. None of the three players he allowed a homer to will play today (David Freese and Enrique Hernandez on the IL, Walker Buehler is a starting pitcher), but it was Wacha’s second-shortest start of the season.

Yikes. Wacha’s changeup has still been a highly effective pitch with a batting average against of .195 and a slugging percentage against of .378, but he only throws it 20 percent of the time. He throws a fastball primarily (48.9 percent of the time), and that has a .328 batting average against and a .592 slugging percentage against. None of those numbers are super far off from his expected numbers on Statcast, so he’s been pretty bad. This is what I always say before a pitcher throws six shutout.

Alex Verdugo was in the original iteration of the lineup, but was scratched with chronic back pain. It doesn’t seem like an IL thing, but Kristpher Negron starts tonight.

——

Urias may be used more standardly as a reliever moving forward, but his role past this season remains unchanged.

Urias allowed a run in 2 1/3 innings last night and threw 55 pitches.

——

A tiny Chris Taylor update.

Taylor’s been out since July 14 with an initial assessment of 4-6 weeks on his forearm fracture.

About Alex Campos

Alex Campos
I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.