Dave Roberts drops Tony Gonsolin bomb before bullpen game dooms Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers v Cincinnati Reds
Los Angeles Dodgers v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

Interesting. This seems like pretty big news to Los Angeles Dodgers fans at a very inconvenient time as the rotation is banged up and struggling for the most part. Manager Dave Roberts revealed Sunday that Tony Gonsolin is still battling some health/recovery issues.

Gonsolin's 2023 season was delayed after he suffered a sprain ankle during team drills in spring training, and he didn't make his debut until April 26 (he was out since March 6 after it was deemed he may only need a two-week recovery).

When Gonsolin made his return, he pitched his second start of the year on the usual four days of rest (between April 26 and May 1). His second start, understandably, came six games later as the Dodgers rearranged the rotation for a crucial weekend series against the Padres. Gonsolin pitched on May 8, then again on May 14, 19, 24, 30 and finally June 6. Though in some instances he had some extra rest due to an off day, he was pitching every fifth game.

Then, all of a sudden, Roberts told reporters on Sunday that the Dodgers would be going with a bullpen game in their series finale against the Phillies as the team passed on Gonsolin's normal rest through his turn in the rotation.

Roberts was then kind of vague (and pretty ominous!) about Gonsolin's general "recovery" in between starts. He assured reporters that the right-hander wasn't dealing with a specific issue, but then said Gonsolin has "never been a great in-between-start guy."

Dodgers' Tony Gonsolin dealing with recovery issues in between starts, per Dave Roberts

For as great as Bobby Miller has been, the Dodgers need their other veterans healthy around him because this run of form from the top prospect isn't going to last for the duration of 2023.

This rotation won't survive if all of Gonsolin, Dustin May and Julio Urías are banged up or unable to pitch to their full potential when they're available. It certainly won't survive with Noah Syndergaard (also on the IL) and Michael Grove getting regular outings. Gonsolin was the reliable buffer in between the aces and the back end -- a much-needed role especially with all the troubles LA has had this year.

So the fact he's been unable to "recover" in between starts with normal rest time is obviously concerning and puts the Dodgers at risk of overworking/exposing their bullpen in the first half of the season (even more so than it's already been).

The Dodgers possessing the caution and foresight to keep Gonsolin healthy for the remainder of the year is the prudent decision. It's not necessarily one to argue with.

However, this puts the front office in a precarious position with the trade deadline approaching. What was seemingly shaping up to be a promising campaign despite a roster downgrade in the offseason feels like it now might be wasted because there aren't enough bodies or, perhaps even worse, desperation might strike when eyeing more pitching targets over the next seven weeks.

Everything might just hinge on the pitching staff's ability to get healthy, which foreshadows a rough foreseeable stretch for the Dodgers.