Let's start with the good and end with the not-so-good. The Los Angeles Dodgers took three out of four from the San Diego Padres. They received some positive injury developments. The offense truly looks unstoppable.
On the injury front, we've talked extensively about Walker Buehler, who is set to face live hitters this week. Getting him back for September would be massive. But more importantly, Clayton Kershaw, who has been out since late June, is nearing a return.
Manager Dave Roberts has largely been guarded in his updates and certainty surrounding the left-hander, but after Monday's game against the Padres he finally relented. He said Kershaw is likely to start Thursday against the Rockies after the team reorganized the rotation to line up Julio Urías and Bobby Miller for the weird mid-week two-game set against the Diamondbacks.
Kershaw's been dealing with a shoulder issue that wasn't deemed to be serious, but then the Dodgers got vague with their responses and had fewer and fewer updates on their star pitcher. Here we are six weeks later, though, and everything seems to be fine.
The Dodgers badly need Kershaw to remain healthy down the stretch and into the postseason because their starting rotation, to put it lightly, is largely in shambles.
Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw update, James Outman surge, Tony Gonsolin future
Luckily, the offense has been picking up the pitching in a massive way. One of the best performers has been James Outman, who has been doing it quietly, too. The rookie is currently surging and has been on fire since the All-Star break (he has a .519 on-base percentage since).
He registered four hits in the 13-7 win over the Padres on Monday and has raised his season stat line to .259/.360/.439 (114 OPS+) with 57 runs scored, 13 homers, 49 RBI and 13 stolen bases. The only real blemish on his resume right now are his 123 strikeouts this year. Other than that, fans really couldn't have asked for a better rookie season.
He's also been playing a very good center field, highlighted by his robbery of Fernando Tatis Jr. on Friday night in the series opener. In a crowded NL rookie class, Outman's managed to keep pace and produce for a contender, which many of the others can't say.
Unfortunately, however, the Dodgers can't keep banking on Outman and the offense to put up crooked numbers multiple times per game, which is something that's rescued Tony Gonsolin countless times this year.
The right-hander took the mound on Monday and got rocked once again, putting the Dodgers in a 5-0 hole before the bats rallied for eight runs in the top of the fourth. But how much longer will the Dodgers tolerate Gonsolin's poor production in the rotation? Admittedly, they don't have many alternative solutions, but is this at least spelling his fate for 2024?
Gonsolin allowed six earned runs on nine hits and a walk over six innings on Monday. His season ERA is now 4.42. He hasn't logged a quality start since June 13. This conversation has largely been overshadowed by the fact he's gotten a ridiculous 6.6 runs of support per game over that span. The Dodgers are 6-5 in his last 11 starts but it should be much worse than that.
The right-hander is under contract through 2026, but with an expected re-tool coming in the offseason, it wouldn't be shocking to see Gonsolin traded or relegated to a swingman role. He's largely failed to progress in a number of ways, whether it's dealing with injuries, pitching deeper into games, or turning out quality postseason innings.
For now, he should remain in the rotation, but don't be surprised if the Dodgers to go in a different direction when the postseason arrives, especially since it looks like Lance Lynn is returning to form after his change of scenery.