Nationals Double Up On League Awards

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Gio Gonzalez was a perfect 5-0 in five May starts.

Not only did the Nationals win a pair of National League Awards on Sunday, they also doubled up in one category, taking home the honors for the second straight month. Gio Gonzalez was named NL Pitcher of the Month and Bryce Harper was honored as NL Rookie of the Month for May by Major League Baseball.

Just as he follows Stephen Strasburg in the rotation, so does Gio in winning his award. Strasburg took home the award in April, meaning that Nationals pitchers have been the only ones to win so far in 2012.

Gonzalez won all five of his May starts, finishing the month a perfect 5-0 with a 2.25 ERA (8 ER/32.0 IP). The southpaw allowed just 17 hits, with opponents batting just .156 against him. He walked 13 while striking out 45 in that span, a rate of 12.6 K/9 IP. He fanned at least nine batters in four of the five outings, and has hit double-digit totals in two of his last three starts heading into Sunday’s affair vs. Atlanta.

Overall, Gonzalez sits at 7-1 with a 2.04 ERA, and ranks in the top five in the National League in wins (T-4th), ERA (2nd), strikeouts (T-2nd), WHIP (0.94, 2nd), opponents batting average (.156, 1st), and K/9 IP (11.53, 1st).

Bryce Harper notched 13 extra-base hits in May.

It should also be no surprise that Harper stepped in to swipe the award for National League Rookie of the Month in May. The 19 year-old posted a slash line of .271/.355/.505, sending 13 of his 29 hits for extra bases (five doubles, four triples, four home runs). The young outfielder also scored a team-high 21 runs in May, five more than the next highest total (Ian Desmond, 16). Finally, he showed off his impressive plate discipline by drawing 13 walks, second on the team only to Adam LaRoche’s 15 for the month.

Of course you can read all about both Harper and Gonzalez when you come to the ballpark (warning: shameless plug alert), as they are featured in the brand new Nationals Magazine that debuted this homestand.

1 Comment

Again I have to note that we are in the 3rd straight year of Rick Ekstein’s tenure as Nationals hitting coach. And for the 3rd straight year most knowledgeable baseball observers peg the Nationals major weakness as lack of hitting. And any time you hear about a player being helped to improve in that regard, it is usually with the help of Davey Johnson. It seems to me that Davey has enough to do with the job he was hired for rather that having to make up for deficiencies in his subordinate coaches. I have said it over and over and I will continue to say that it is time to get rid of Ekstein (kick him upstairs and make him Rizzo’s gofer, if Rizzo likes him so much) and replace him with some one better. Frank Robinson would do nicely as a replacement.

Harold G. Pavel

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