ARLINGTON, TEXAS – The Los Angeles Dodgers will have righthander Tony Gonsolin start Game 6 of the World Series with a chance to win their first championship in 32 years Tuesday night.
This time, they plan for the rookie to be more than an opener.
"Tony's a starting pitcher tomorrow," manager Dave Roberts said Monday. "I'm going to watch him pitch and then we'll see what we do after that. … I want to go as long as he possibly can, that'd be great."
Gonsolin went 1⅓ innings vs. Tampa Bay in Game 2, a planned bullpen game for the Dodgers. He was the loser after giving up one run, on a homer to Brandon Lowe, two days after he pitched two innings in relief in the clinching Game 7 of the National League Championship Series vs. Atlanta.
"Try to not put more pressure on myself than there already is," Gonsolin said. "I'll try to go out there and throw the ball to the best of my ability. Nothing changes."
The Rays will counter with their Game 2 starter as well, Blake Snell.
Roberts could have opted to have Walker Buehler start on three days' rest but said it didn't make sense. Buehler would start in a Game 7, if necessary.
Tuesday's start will mark the end to an up-and-down season for Gonsolin, 26, who tested positive for the coronavirus over the summer and didn't make the Opening Day roster. He eventually stuck, though, finishing the season with 2.31 ERA and 46 strikeouts to seven walks in 46⅔ innings across nine games.
But Gonsolin has struggled in the postseason. He has given up eight runs and six hits in 7⅔ innings over three games.
'A little hyperventilation'
Rays outfielder Brett Phillips got so excited in the aftermath of his two-out single in the ninth inning of Game 4, the one that started a wild game-ending play with two errors and two runs for Tampa Bay in an 8-7 victory on Saturday night, that he got sick.
His head started pounding, and the athletic training staff covered his head with a towel to calm him after the crazy celebration that followed the Dodgers' miscues that enabled Randy Arozarena to score the winning run from first base.
"I almost passed out. I didn't realize I was dehydrated," Phillips said Sunday. "I had to get an IV — first time, getting an IV. ... When I went to the training room, my resting heart rate was over 140 just laying there. They were like, 'We've got to chill you down. Chill out.' But it was all worth it. Just a little hyperventilation going on inside me."
Phillips said he had a little more than 500 text messages when he got back to the hotel, and he didn't go to bed until about 4 a.m. after replying to "every single one of those messages. That's something I take a lot of passion into, thanking everyone that supported me."