The depth of the starting rotation has certainly been tested for the Los Angeles Dodgers early in 2023. Tony Gonsolin has been out of action since Spring Training with a left ankle sprain and his replacement in the rotation, Ryan Pepiot, was a surprise addition to the IL on Opening Day.
With both Gonsolin and Pepiot out, the Dodgers' pitching staff has struggled. The back of the rotation just got lit up for 29 runs across three games against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It does not look like the team is going to get any relief from Michael Grove's struggles anytime soon.
Dave Roberts provided an update around Gonsolin's injury status and timeline this week, and it is not the kind of update that fans wanted to hear. Gonsolin's timeline has yet again been pushed back by the team (h/t Bill Plunkett, Orange County Register).
"'The hope initially was the end of April,' Roberts said, 'So I think we’re bleeding into May. [...] That ankle, the stability, the recovery, all of it (has been slow going). So no setback, just kind of managing the workload.'"- Dave Roberts
Dodgers' starting rotation will continue to be tested with Tony Gonsolin's return pushed back.
This is a frustrating development for Dodgers fans, who may feel like the team was not communicating properly with the media and the fanbase when Gonsolin first got hurt. Gonsolin rolled his ankle during infield drills in early March and at the time, Roberts said that his status for Opening Day shouldn't be in jeopardy.
Gonsolin may end up making his 2023 debut six weeks after Opening Day. So either the Dodgers and Roberts were completely wrong about the severity of the injury, were being overly optimistic, or were hiding the truth from the media and the fans.
For now, all the team can ask is for the back of the rotation to step up in Gonsolin's (and Pepiot's) absence. Horrible starts from Noah Syndergaard and Michael Grove simply are not going to cut it, and if that trend continues, then Roberts and pitching coach Mark Prior are going to have to make some changes.
Luckily, the offense has been red-hot for the Boys in Blue, who are second in MLB in runs scored per game thus far this season. If that continues, then it shouldn't be an unmitigated disaster without Gonsolin.