Dodgers @ Pirates May 10, 2022: Gonsolin and Co. attempt to survive series against … the Pirates

There wasn’t much to say about yesterday’s 5-1 loss to the Pirates. I’ll just insert the entirety of Chad’s recap which featured the first dumpster fire picture of the year.

“The Dodgers came into today as one of the hottest teams in baseball, winners of six in a row and surely looking to make it nine in a row against the lowly Pirates. Well, it was the Pirates that looked like a super team in a 5-1 thrashing that was worse than the score indicated as they racked up 15 hits against the Dodgers.”

The team just couldn’t hit Jose Quintana. Quintana hadn’t had a win since 2019, and no Pirates starting pitcher had a win this season. The Dodgers have been his favorite opponent over his entire career, now down to a 1.81 ERA and .599 OPS allowed against them in 44.2 innings pitched. Pretty impressive considering the entirety of his time in the NL has come during the height of the Dodgers’ dominance.

Anyways, as the Dodgers try to not lose a series to the Pirates, Tony Gonsolin will be on the mound against the 24 year-old righty, Bryse Wilson.

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3:35 PM Pittsburgh
RF Betts LF Gamel (L)
1B Freeman (L) CF Reynolds (S)
SS T. Turner 3B Hayes
2B Muncy (L) DH Vogelbach (L)
3B J. Turner 1B Tsutsugo (L)
CF Bellinger (L) SS Castillo
DH Ríos (L) RF Suwinski (L)
LF Lux (L) C Perez (L)
C Barnes 2B Tucker (S)
P Gonsolin (R) P Wilson (R)

The answer to this game is pretty simple compared to yesterday – hit the ball! Mookie Betts was able to get a hit, extending his hitting streak to ten games, while Edwin Rios was able to hit a solo home run in the ninth inning. Cody Bellinger struck out four times, so not a great day for him, also not a fantastic day for Chris Taylor who is out for today’s game after fouling a ball off the inside of his knee. Gavin Lux will get the start in left field, Max Muncy will be at second, and Rios will be the designated hitter. Austin Barnes is catching for the second day in a row.

The main story here is that Wilson is right-handed. For whatever reason, the Dodgers only offensive weakness over the last handful of years is the inability to effectively and consistently hit left-handed pitching. Struggling against Quintana shows this. They’re below average this year, but significantly above average against right-handed pitching. They’re fourth in both wRC+ (117), and OPS (.735) against right-handed pitching, and they’re led by Freddie Freeman (158 wRC+), Betts (153 wRC+), Lux (142), and Muncy (120). Barnes has a 154 wRC+ in 20 plate appearances against RHP, while Ríos has a 146 wRC+ in 23 plate appearances.

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Here’s how Gonsolin and Wilson matchup.

The Pirates received the 24 year-old Wilson from the Braves last season at the trade deadline in exchange for relief pitcher Richard Rodriguez. Wilson was famous for allowing just one hit over six innings in the NLCS against….the Dodgers, in 2020. Great. If I were a Pirates fan, it’s something I’d consider looking into more, but similar to Quintana, Wilson is throwing his fastball significantly less than last year and in any years prior. He came into the league throwing it nearly 67% of the time, and is now down to just 28% this year. His sinker usage is up to a career high 28% as well, leading to the idea that maybe they just think he had a poor fastball and has a better chance without it?

Both of his last two outings have come out of the bullpen, but he’s thrown 55 and 59 pitches in those two outings. The Pirates will likely look to get a similar amount of pitches from him today, and would probably be very happy with five innings. Of his five appearances this season, his last two were also his best, allowing no earned runs over a total of 7.2 innings, with ten strikeouts and just three hits.

Gonsolin earned the win in his last time out against the Giants, going five innings and allowing just one run on three hits and one walk while striking out five. Brandon Crawford hit a solo home run in the second inning, but Gonsolin was clean besides that. He still hasn’t thrown more than 83 pitches in a start this season, similar to Urías prior to yesterday. Also similar to Urías, this has likely been to his benefit, considering his 1.64 ERA and 1.09 WHIP to start the season, even if not 100% sustainable.

In terms of Gonsolin’s pitch usage, he’s throwing his fastball at a career low rate of just 32.9% of the time, down from 43.6% last season. He’s increased his usage of all his other pitches, throwing his slider 30.6% of the time, and the splitter 25.9% of the time. In his last outing, he threw 26 sliders, 17 splitters, and just 16 fastballs. Interesting development to keep an eye on throughout the year. He also averaged his highest fastball velocity of the season, up to 93.7 MPH. He’s been very good, just needs to keep regaining command and throwing more strikes. He has just two walks allowed with ten strikeouts in his last nine innings, compared to seven walks and eight strikeouts over his first three starts.

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Not ideal for Smith, but Barnes is completely serviceable in the meantime.

Good news for Taylor.

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We’ll get a better look at Ryan Pepiot tomorrow, but the general consensus is that he’s on his way to being a top 100 prospect. He’s got a mid 90’s fastball and a lethal changeup. If he can improve on his slider he has very high potential.

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First pitch is at 3:35 PM PDT on SNLA.

About Allan Yamashige

Just a guy living in Southern California, having a good time writing about baseball. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about it rules. Thanks for reading!