Dodgers hope Gonsolin more than an opener in Game 6

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Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin leaves the game against the Tampa Bay Rays during the second inning in Game 2 of the baseball World Series Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

ARLINGTON, Texas – Tony Gonsolin found out after Game 2 that he would be starting Game 6 as well for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This time, they plan for the rookie right-hander to be more than an opener with the Dodgers having a chance to clinch their first World Series title since 1988.

“Tony's a starting pitcher tomorrow.” manager Dave Roberts said Monday. “I’m going to watch him pitch and then we’ll see what we do after that. ... I want to go as long as he possibly can, that’d be great."

Gonsolin went 1 1/3 innings against Tampa Bay in Game 2, a planned bullpen game for the Dodgers. He was the loser after giving up only one run — the one that put the Rays ahead to stay in the 6-4 win — two days after he pitched two innings in relief in the clinching Game 7 of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves.

“With the extra day, it worked out nicely, I took the next day off and then got my two lifts and my bullpen and on would have been Game 4,” Gonsolin said. “And ready to go for tomorrow.”

After Clayton Kershaw won his second game against the Rays on Sunday night for a 3-2 Series advantage, Los Angeles opted against trying to use right-handed ace Walker Buehler to start on short rest Tuesday night.

Roberts, who hopes to get five or six innings from Gonsolin, said the Dodgers thought through that option, but decided it didn't make sense.

“You’re putting yourself in a situation where after winning a game to put him in a tough situation. There’s already guaranteed, at worse, a Game 7,” Roberts said. “There’s a blister component that we’ve dealt with, that it just brings that more into play with that extra day.”