Taking the mound for the Dodgers last Saturday against the Brewers, starter Dustin May looked to build upon his best start of the young season in which he pitched six innings of one run ball against the Padres, racking up 10 strikeouts and allowing only two hits and a walk. This outing in Milwaukee started out well, as May struck out three of the first four batters he faced before giving up a solo HR to Luis Urías. Then, on the 27th pitch of the game and 7th pitch of the at bat against Billy McKinney, May threw an uncharacteristically slow 4-seam fastball at 94.3 mph for a ball, well below his average velocity of 98.3 mph for that pitch. Immediately wincing in pain and shaking his throwing arm, trainers came out to check on the 23-year-old pitcher and he had to be taken out of the game.
After the game, Manager Dave Roberts told the press that May’s arm was still sore and that he would get a MRI when the team arrived in Chicago on Monday. Unfortunately for the Dodgers and the young pitcher, tests revealed that May suffered damage to his UCL in his right elbow and would need to undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2021 season.
With May, the Dodgers fifth starter, out for the season, and other starting options including Tony Gonsolin and David Price currently on the IL and weeks away from rejoining the team, the Dodgers will need to get creative in how they fill starts until some of their players get healthy. One option the Dodgers could pursue until they get healthier is having Trevor Bauer pitch every fourth game. Bauer has expressed a desire in the past for pitching every four games, believing that his body performs best under that situation based on his track record of daily measurements he takes of himself. When reporters asked Roberts about the possibility of Bauer pitching every four games, he responded, “We’ve thought about it, there’s a scenario where it could happen… we’re gonna talk through it. Once we deal with this weather [in Chicago] and the games, what days we play or don’t play, we’ll have a little bit more clarity.” Barring any further weather delays, the Dodgers would have only 3 off days in the next 20 days, so it’s not unlikely that some of the pitchers in the rotation could pitch on short rest or that some bullpen games would occur. However it just wouldn’t be ideal for a team currently dealing with seven players, one of them being Dustin May, on their 10-day IL.
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