Dustin May's focused, impressive start not enough to spur Dodgers to victory
Published in Baseball
LOS ANGELES — After ending the fifth inning with a swing-and-miss cutter, Dustin May skipped down the back of the mound and hung a confident left back toward the dugout.
After finishing off the sixth with a big looping curveball, the Los Angeles Dodgers ever-intense right-hander flexed his arms and bellowed a fired-up scream.
And after completing the seventh with yet another punchout, posting nothing but zeros in the longest — and, very likely, most complete — major league outing of his five-year career, May yelled again before strutting off the field one final time.
In a scoreless seven-inning season debut Friday night, in the second game of the Dodgers season-opening series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, May flashed all the promise and potential the team had been longing to see.
It appeared in flashes during his first MLB stints in 2019 and 2020. It was becoming a familiar sight before he suffered a torn elbow ligament requiring Tommy John surgery in 2021. Upon his return at the end of last season, May’s dominance appeared only in brief spurts, often undone by wild command and inconsistent mechanics.
But after a fully healthy offseason and auspicious spring display, May and the Dodgers believed there was more in the tank.
That turned a corner in injury-delayed development.
That he was primed for a breakout 2023.
In his first start, at least, May checked all those boxes. He pounded the zone and worked quick off soft contact. He mixed all five of his pitches while yielding just three hits and one walk.
Most of all, the fiery red-head kept his emotions in check — or, more importantly, funneled in the right direction — en route to perhaps his best start in the big leagues.
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