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The Los Angeles Dodgers are ready for the 2019-20 version of Tony Gonsolin to make an appearance when they face the reeling Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon in Phoenix.

Gonsolin is set to make his third start on the mound this season in the finale of the three-game series, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he’s raising the bar for his 27-year-old right-hander.

If Gonsolin (0-0, 3.38 ERA) hopes to pitch long enough to be eligible for a win, it’s going to be on his shoulders.

“I’m not expecting it to be a bullpen game,” Roberts said of Gonsolin’s next start after he allowed one run and four hits in 3 2/3 innings of Los Angeles’ 3-1 win against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday. “That puts the onus on him to go out there and pitch effectively and go deeper.”

Gonsolin, the organization’s minor-league pitcher of the year in 2018, was expected to be part of the starting rotation at the start of this season. Those hopes were dashed by a shoulder injury.

Gonsolin eventually made his season debut on June 9 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving up one run and two hits in 1 2/3 innings.

“He’s going out there and competing, trying to do the best he can and get as many outs as he can while continuing to build up,” Roberts said. “Getting him to the 70-pitch number, you think that his next turn, the natural progression is up to 90 pitches, but he’s got to be efficient.”

The Dodgers are hoping Gonsolin will soon regain the form and stamina he showed following his second call-up from the minors in late July of the 2019 season.

Gonsolin made five straight starts while Rich Hill was out with an arm injury. He allowed just six earned runs and 17 hits over 28 innings for a 1.93 ERA.

He closed out that season in the bullpen, but returned to a starting role last summer. He threw 16 2/3 scoreless innings to start the season and owned an 0.76 ERA after five appearances.

Gonsolin threw five innings in relief in a Sept. 10 game against the Diamondbacks because starter Dustin May was hit on the foot with a line drive in the first.

Gonsolin gave up three runs in that appearance and took the loss. He wasn’t as sharp the rest of the regular season, finishing with a 2.31 ERA.

He started three games during the Dodgers’ run to the World Series title last season and made four appearances overall. He was 0-2 with an 8.68 ERA.

Gonsolin’s also 0-2 in his career against the Diamondbacks with a 4.50 ERA in four appearances (three starts).

He’ll be up against an Arizona team that’s dropped a franchise-record 16 straight games and lost catcher Carson Kelly to a broken right wrist. Kelly was injured after being hit by a pitch from Walker Buehler in the 9-3 loss on Saturday night.

Alex Young will make his second start of the season for the Diamondbacks in the series finale on Sunday.

Young (2-4, 3.86) has made 26 relief appearances this season, including an inning against the Dodgers on May 18. He gave up one run on two hits and a walk in the 9-1 loss.

Young has made seven appearances overall against the Dodgers in his career, including three starts. He’s 0-2 with 5.00 ERA.

–Field Level Media