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Red alert: Dodgers rookie starter Dustin May turns fiery on days he pitches

Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Baseball

LOS ANGELES -- Dave Roberts pondered the question but couldn't produce an answer.

Who does Dustin May remind him of?

"That's a hard one," the Los Angeles Dodgers manager said. "I'll get back to you. I'm still trying to learn him myself."

Indeed, the 21-year-old rookie is making a first impression almost without parallel. In two starts, his production has been promising. His presence on the mound is unique.

"He's got a charisma to him," pitcher Ross Stripling said. "He's not rattled by anything. He keeps his mouth shut, he works hard. Goes out there and takes the ball, attacks everyone."

Roberts had some idea of what to expect when the fast-rising, flame-throwing prospect was called up at the start of August. He was told May's emotions would be evident through mannerisms and idiosyncrasies. He predicted the right-hander, considered the top pitching prospect in the organization, would "rise to the occasion."

 

So far, both have been right.

May's delivery is funky. From the windup, long skinny limbs twist toward the plate like a tornado. From the stretch, he squats before unleashing pitches. He constantly tugs at his belt and adjusts his cap. Between batters, he unfailingly paces around the mound. Excitement and anguish are on display with equal fervency. Bunny hops or a flex of his fist to celebrate strikeouts. A dejected jolt or bent-over sigh bemoan hits.

He was solid in his debut Aug. 2 and even better in his second start Wednesday, striking out seven batters and giving up only one run in 5 2/3 innings against the St. Louis Cardinals. Yet, he slammed a fist into his glove as he walked off the mound to end the sixth inning. Marcell Ozuna had homered two batters earlier.

"I think he knows he belongs," catcher Russell Martin said. "He's been good for a while now. When you have his kind of stuff, I assume he feels pretty confident when he's on the hill."

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