Stone may have rebounded with 3.1 scoreless innings against the Mariners on Sunday, but he'll need to be near-perfect the rest of the way in order to even make this a conversation.
The Dodgers called upon their top pitching prospect a number of times in 2023 and he's yet to deliver in the manner they had hoped. His outing against Seattle was a relief appearance to alleviate pressure on the bullpen. That's not how he's supposed to be utilized.
Stone is a top pitching prospect meant to start games and carve out a role for himself in the rotation, but he has a 13.50 ERA, 2.61 WHIP and just seven strikeouts in 15.1 innings as a starter. Even if the Dodgers preferred him as a reliever for the time being, he can't be trusted to handle the league's best offenses, as evidenced by his previous outings against the Phillies, Braves, Rays and Padres during which he was absolutely shelled. His relef appearances came against the Pirates, Red Sox and Mariners. He's done better in those, but it hasn't been convincing enough.
The right-hander's promotion to MLB was expedited due to injuries and a lack of depth. His first month back at Triple-A after his dominant 2022 before he was brought up in May featured a 4.74 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. He mostly labored through his outings, too, even the ones that were good.
Stone still needs time to develop and it's definitely a silver lining he got ample MLB exposure this season, but his playoff debut should wait because it'll only represent a greater challenge when he's yet to pass the less demanding tests so far in 2023.