Dodgers @ Reds June 6, 2023: Gonsolin starts as Reds’ De La Cruz debuts

The Dodgers (35-25) had a day off yesterday after dropping a series to the Yankees (36-25) this weekend at home. The team just wasn’t good enough in that series and they deserved to lose, unfortunately. They scored six runs in the first inning of the series last Friday and scored just six runs over the next 25 innings.

Hopefully the day off helped them reset as they start a three game series against the Cincinnati Reds (27-33). Tony Gonsolin will be on the mound up against the right-handed Luke Weaver. The big story is the Reds’ #1 prospect and consensus top five prospect in all of baseball, Elly De La Cruz will be making his debut tonight, batting cleanup and playing third base.

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4:10 PM Cincinnati
RF Betts RF Fraley (L)
1B Freeman (L) SS McLain
C Smith 2B India
3B Muncy (L) 3B De La Cruz (S)
DH Martinez LF Steer
LF Peralta (L) DH Stephenson
CF Heyward (L) 1B Newman
2B Vargas CF Fairchild
SS Rojas C Maile
P Gonsolin (R) P Weaver (R)

The right-handed Weaver allows the Dodgers to bat most of their left-handed batters, although James Outman will be on the bench as Jason Heyward starts in center field and Mookie Betts is in right. In the last series the top of the order struggled, and the team was just 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position in the last two games. They’ll need to be better than that.

The Reds are led by TJ Friedl in fWAR at 1.7, who’s been a plus in center field and on the bases, to go with a .326/.377/.496 slash, good for a 131 wRC+. Besides him, their best players have been Spencer Steer (125 wRC+), 2021 Rookie of the Year Jonathan India (110), and Jake Fraley (105).

De La Cruz is a 6’5 21 year-old dynamic switch hitting shortstop, with a chance to be a five-tool star. FanGraphs has him as the third overall prospect, while MLB Pipeline and Baseball Prospectus both have him fourth. He hit his way into Double-A last year, finishing the 2022 season with a .945 OPS with 28 home runs and 47 stolen bases. In Triple-A thus far, he’s posted a .297/.398/.633 slash, with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 38 games. He’s still slightly prone to striking out, with a 26.9% strikeout rate this year (down from 31% last year), and there’s always some risk to prospects with swing and miss in the minor leagues, but he’s a 21-year-old with massive upside.

Prior to the addition of De La Cruz, here’s how the Reds and Dodgers compare offensively.

It’s interesting that the Reds have so few home runs hit, seeing as Great American Ball Park is the most homer friendly park in Major League Baseball. Cincinnati has hit just 48 home runs this year which is tied for the third least, whilst the Dodgers total of 101 is second to only the Tampa Bay Rays (103). The Reds have also struggled to hit at home, with an 83 wRC+ in Cincinnati, the 29th ranked home wRC+.


Here’s how Gonsolin and Weaver match up.

Gonsolin earned his third win of the season last time out against the Nationals, allowing one run on three hits and two walks with two strikeouts in six innings. He was uber efficient, needing just 70 pitches to get through six innings. It was just his second quality start in seven outings, but he’s also yet to allow more than three runs in any of those starts. Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) doesn’t seem to like what Gonsolin has done thus far, due to his low strikeout rate and relatively high walk rate. The results have absolutely been there, and the 1.77 ERA is the most important stat of his, but his strikeout to walk ratio of 1.92 would put him 64th of 70 qualified starters. Not a place you want to be. Regardless, hopefully he keeps up the run prevention.

Weaver allowed three runs on seven hits and no walks while striking out five over 5.2 innings in his last start against the Red Sox. He didn’t issue any walks for the second time in his past three starts, which has been his biggest strength this year, with just nine walks allowed in 43.2 innings. Weaver has taken a no-decision in each of his past four starts, but he’s pitched pretty well during that stretch, allowing eight runs over 21.2 frames (3.32 ERA) while notching a strong 21 to two strikeout to walk ratio.

He’d been with the Diamondbacks for the better part of the last four seasons, so he’s faced the Dodgers a handful of times. Over eight career starts against the Dodgers, he owns a 7.57 ERA in 27.1 innings, with 23 earned runs allowed on 33 hits and 16 walks and allowed a .924 OPS. Different players were on all those Dodger teams, but it seems everyone has always seen him well.


Rotation will be tight when Julio Urias returns. Bobby Miller looks too good to send down, especially when it means keeping the struggling Noah Syndergaard in the rotation instead.


The Dodgers needed bullpen help, so they called up one of their best — their 2019 seventh round pick, Nick Robertson.

In addition, he has 37 strikeouts to just seven walks on the season, and has allowed just one earned run with 22 strikeouts in his last 15.2 innings.

Yes, the Dodgers are *only* ten games above .500, but getting to see all the young guys debut is really enjoyable.


Speaking of DeLuca:

Good read as usual from Fabian.


First pitch is at 4:10 PM PT on SNLA.

About Allan Yamashige

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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!