LOS ANGELES ― Six months and 110 wins ago, the Dodgers slated Tyler Anderson to follow Tony Gonsolin in their second game of the regular season.
Now, with the potential to wrap up the National League Division Series this weekend in San Diego, they will turn to Gonsolin and Anderson in that order again to start Games 3 and 4.
Manager Dave Roberts announced the two starting pitchers on Thursday, a “travel day” down Interstate 5 for the Dodgers and Padres, with the best-of-five series tied, 1-1.
Gonsolin will face off against left-hander Blake Snell, the first left-handed starter the Dodgers will face in the series. Snell will see a different Dodger lineup than Mike Clevinger and Yu Darvish saw in Games 1 and 2.
Catcher Will Smith will shift to designated hitter. Austin Barnes, who flew out as a pinch hitter late in Game 2 on Wednesday, will get his first start behind the plate.
Justin Turner, the designated hitter in Games 1 and 2, will play third base. Max Muncy will shift to second base. Gavin Lux, a left-handed hitter like Muncy, will begin the game on the bench.
In the outfield, Chris Taylor and Trayce Thompson will man left and center field, respectively. It’s the first start of the series for Taylor, who hasn’t played outside of intrasquad competition since Sept. 30.
If the first two games are any indication, Snell will be less of a challenge than the Padres’ bullpen, which has yet to allow a run in the series.
“We threw out a lot of hits (Wednesday) night, and I thought there were some other balls that we squared up that didn’t get rewarded for,” Roberts said. “I think honestly there were a lot more good at-bats than bad at-bats, but situationally I think we could have done a better job. We had a couple opportunities to push a couple runs across, and we didn’t capitalize.”
Gonsolin, 16-1 with a 2.14 ERA in the regular season, overcame a forearm injury to throw two innings on Oct. 3 after a 40-day injury layoff. Roberts said the right-hander is built up to throw 75 pitches after facing intrasquad competition.
If Gonsolin gets the early hook, Roberts said right-hander Dustin May will be ready to throw up to four innings and 60 pitches in relief. Similar to Gonsolin, May suffered a back injury in September that knocked him out of the Dodgers’ final 13 regular-season games.
May threw an abbreviated bullpen session on Monday in Los Angeles.
“There’s no hesitancy with Dustin where he’s at,” Roberts said.
Anderson, 15-5 with a 2.57 ERA in the regular season, will oppose right-hander Joe Musgrove in Game 4. It will be the second postseason start of his career and his first since 2018.
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Gonsolin’s health factored into the decision to use him in Game 3 rather than Anderson.
“Tyler has more length than Tony, so to be able to come off an off-day, have your full disposal of (bullpen) arms available, I think, just equipped us the best to prevent runs for Game 3,” Roberts said.
Neither Gonsolin nor Roberts offered a specific limit for the right-hander’s workload in Game 3.
“I’m not going to try to pretend like I have a plan,” Gonsolin said. “I’m just going to go out there and execute pitches. And whenever Doc tells me I’m done, I’m going to ask to go more, and he’s going to say no, and that’ll be it.”
Dodgers (RHP Tony Gonsolin, 16-1, 2.14 ERA) at Padres (LHP Blake Snell, 8-10, 3.38 ERA), Friday, 5:37 p.m., FS1, 570 AM, 830 AM