Results tagged ‘ Gio Gonzalez ’

What to Watch for: 7.30.13

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Washington Nationals (52-54) vs. Detroit Tigers (59-45)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-8, 2.85) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (8-7, 2.68)

The All-Star break provides a number of opportunities for players. The four days are a chance to catch your breath, lick your wounds, and get a mental restart for the stretch run. For managers though, it also provides a chance to reset the pitching rotation to best match up with opponents.

In Davey Johnson’s case, that meant he could line up Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez for this two-game set against Detroit, beginning Tuesday night in the Motor City. It also means Jordan Zimmermann will get to start back in his home state of Wisconsin on Friday night in Milwaukee, where he delivered six strong innings to earn his fourth win in a very strong month of August last season.

Of course, it also means the rotation will roll over once more, setting up the top three Washington starters to pitch during the Nationals upcoming August 5-7 home series with Atlanta. With a little tinkering, Johnson could work around the off days to do the same for the road series against the Braves, August 16-18 at Turner Field.

The ability to set up the top of the rotation is great, but it is made all the more important by the success of the rest of the starters, like the three huge starts delivered by Ross Ohlendorf, Dan Haren and Taylor Jordan over the weekend. After one of their toughest losses of the season in the opening game of the doubleheader with the Mets on Friday – and with All-Star Game starter Matt Harvey and Nats nemesis Dillon Gee on the horizon – Washington needed big performances from all three to have a successful weekend.

That’s exactly what they got. Ohlendorf, Haren and Jordan combined to deliver 20 innings over which each allowed just a single earned run (1.35 combined ERA) on 14 total hits and four walks while striking out 21 Mets batters. The offense did just enough to muster a win Friday night, with Ryan Zimmerman providing the ninth-inning heroics, then powered three home runs Saturday and came alive to set season highs in hits and runs on Sunday. That gave the Nationals three straight wins heading into their current Midwest road trip.

If the rotation can continue to feed off of itself and the lineup behind it finds its groove, the Nationals will be as well positioned as they could possibly hope for the upcoming division showdowns with Atlanta that may well determine the fate of the division.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Harper LF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Span CF

8. Ramos C

9. Tracy DH

RHP Strasburg

BETTER AT-BATS = BETTER BALL

The Nationals won four of the final five games on their season-long 11-game homestand. They batted .302 (52-for-172) and plated 29 runs during the 4-1 surge since last Thursday, averaging 5.8 runs per game over that stretch.

WERTH THE WAIT

Jayson Werth is batting .331 (56-for-169) with 23 walks, seven doubles, 11 home runs, 30 runs scored, 32 RBI, and a .410 OBP in 48 games since returning from the disabled list (right hamstring) on June 4. During the month of July, Werth paces the National League in batting average (.376), OPS (1.103), on-base percentage (.455) and RBI (21). He also ranks among the Senior Circuit’s top five in home runs (tied-second, seven), slugging percentage (third, .647) and hits (tied-fifth, 32).

THREE GRAND

With Wilson Ramos’ bases-clearing blast in the third inning on Sunday, the Nationals have now blasted three grand slams in 2013. The club went 70 games before hitting a grand slam, with Ian Desmond providing the first of the year, in the 11th inning on June 19 in Philadelphia. Since then, Washington has collected three in 36 games, also including Ryan Zimmerman’s shot against San Diego on July 7 in The District.

What to Watch for: 7.26.13 – Game 1

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New York Mets (45-53) vs. Washington Nationals (49-53)

RHP Jenrry Mejia (NR, -.–) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (12-5, 3.01) 

The Nationals look to continue their winning ways following yesterday’s ninth-inning, walk-off victory over the Pirates as the welcome the Mets for a day-night doubleheader to open a four-game series over the next three days. Jordan Zimmermann will take on rookie Jenrry Mejia, making his 2013 debut in the opener.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Harper LF

2. Lombardozzi 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Span CF

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

HARPER’S HEROICS

Bryce Harper’s game-ending, two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning capped a 9-7 win over the Pirates Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park. Harper’s blast was made necessary only after the Pirates, who trailed 7-3 after eight innings, plated four runs in the top of the ninth to extend the contest. Harper became the first 20 year-old to club a game-ending blast since Miguel Cabrera turned the trick on June 20, 2003 vs. Tampa Bay as a member of the Marlins. Harper’s shot was his first long ball since July 1 and it also rendered Washington’s first game-ending home run of 2013.

K STREET

In Washington’s last two games, Stephen Strasburg (season-high 12 strikeouts, Wednesday) and Gio Gonzalez (11 K, Thursday) have combined on 23 strikeouts to establish a team-mark for the most strikeouts posted a consecutive games by Nationals (2005-present) starting pitchers. With their respective 12- and 11-K efforts the last two days, Strasburg and Gonzalez also became just the second set of Nationals starters to register double-digit strikeout tallies in back-to-back games. John Lannan (11 strikeouts, April 17 at New York) and Tim Redding (10, April 18 at Florida) were the first to turn this trick back in 2008.

RISPY BUSINESS

The Nationals pounded out 14 hits, 5 of which came with RISP (Washington entered the game in a 13-game 7-for-81 rut with RISP) and 11 of which came from Davey Johnson’s 1-4 hitters (Harper, Steve Lombardozzi and Ryan Zimmerman with three, Adam LaRoche with two).

What to Watch for: 7.25.13

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Pittsburgh Pirates (60-39) vs. Washington Nationals (48-53)

RHP A.J. Burnett (4-7, 3.07) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (7-3, 2.89)

Washington turns to Gio Gonzalez to snap a season-high six-game skid and get back into the winning column for the first time since the All-Star break. Gonzalez has won his last four decisions, and his 2.04 ERA (21 ER/92.0 IP) since the beginning of May is second-best in all of Major League Baseball.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Harper LF

2. Lombardozzi 2B

3. Zim 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Span CF

8. Suzuki C

9. Gonzalez LHP

CENTRALLY LOCATED

Gonzalez is 9-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 13 starts against NL Central foes since joining the Nationals (2012-13). Washington is 12-1 in those Gonzalez starts.

FIVE ALIVE

Jayson Werth’s two-run, ninth-inning shot on Wednesday night at Nationals Park was his fifth home run in the last four games. He became the first National to go deep five times in a four-game span since Adam LaRoche turned the trick on September 3-6, 2012 during a four-game sweep of the Cubs. Incidentally, Adam Dunn hit 5 home runs in a three-game span for Washington, July 7-9, 2010. Werth’s 1.157 OPS in July paces all of Major League Baseball.

BELOW THE SURFACE

The .539 winning percentage (278-235) posted by the Nationals Minor League system currently ranks fourth among MLB’s 30 franchises. Washington trails only Houston (first, .576), Texas (second, .566) and San Francisco (third, .543). The Nationals system has registered winning records each of the last five seasons (2008-12), but has never finished among the top five.

What to Watch for: 7.24.13

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Pittsburgh Pirates (59-39) vs. Washington Nationals (48-52)

LHP Francisco Liriano (9-4, 2.44) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-7, 2.97)

The Nationals look to end their season-high five-game losing streak as they send Stephen Strasburg to the mound to face Francisco Liriano. It will be Strasburg’s first appearance against the Pirates at home in D.C. since his Major League debut on June 8, 2010, in which he fanned 14 in a 5-2 victory.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Hairston LF

2. Rendon SS

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Werth RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Ramos C

7. Span CF

8. Lombardozzi 2B

9. Strasburg RHP

THE BUC STOPS HERE

Strasburg has had great success against the Pirates thus far in his career, going 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA (7 ER/20.0 IP) and 35 strikeouts (15.8 K/9 IP) against just four walks (8.75 K/BB rats) in his first three starts. The Nationals have won all three of those games against Pittsburgh.

‘CATT’S MEOW

Gio Gonzalez (ninth, 2.89), Stephen Strasburg (12th, 2.97) and Jordan Zimmermann (14th, 3.01) all rank among the National League’s top 15 in ERA this season. Nationals Pitching Coach Steve McCatty’s rotation is the only one in Major League Baseball with three pitchers ranked among their respective league’s top 15 in ERA. Only St. Louis, Kansas City, Seattle and Texas have two pitchers ranked on either of those lists.

WERTH THE WAIT

Jayson Werth is batting .322 (48-for-149) with 20 walks, seven doubles, 10 home runs, 25 runs scored, 29 RBI and a .401 OBP in 42 games since returning from the Disabled List (right hamstring) on June 4.  Werth’s 1.126 OPS in July ranks third in the National League behind only Hanley Ramirez (1.167) and Andrew McCutchen (1.147).

Highlights: 7.20.13

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7.20.13 – Dodgers 3, Nationals 1

Stat of the Game: Gio Gonzalez was brilliant, matching a career high with 11 strikeouts over six scoreless frames.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Ryan Zimmerman and Chad Tracy each collected three hits.

It Was Over When: Los Angeles plated a pair in the 10th to break the 1-1 tie.

Gio Gonzalez: Positive Energy

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The video below is a supplemental bonus feature for the Gio Gonzalez: Positive Energy cover article in Issue 9 of Inside Pitch. For the full story, be sure to pick up a copy this homestand at the the ballpark.

Plus, check out our District 9 with Ian Krol, where he reveals the mystery behind his Twitter handle.

IP9_Gio_Medium

The Second “Half”

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There has been plenty written about the Nationals the past few days and what it will take for them to play in October this season.

We’ll leave the “to reach x wins, they need to go xx-xx the rest of the way” predictions to others. As Davey Johnson and his troops have expressed over recent weeks, what the team needs to do is play at the level its capable of with more consistency. It doesn’t really matter how many games are left, or against whom. We all know this team is capable – when they are playing their best – of beating anyone.

Davey Johnson is looking for more consistency from his club in the second half.

Davey Johnson is looking for more consistency from his club in the second half.

They’ll get their first test immediately out of the All-Star break. The suddenly hot Los Angeles Dodgers come to town to open an 11-game, 10-day homestand, during which they will throw recently acquired Nationals nemesis Ricky Nolasco, along with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. Things don’t get easier from there, as the contending Pittsburgh Pirates visit for four games beginning next week. The homestand concludes with a Matt Harvey-headlined doubleheader followed by a pair of weekend games against the scrappy New York Mets.

Of course, the Nationals will counter with arguable the healthiest team they’ve fielded since the first week of the season. With the lineup at full strength, the only pieces missing are Ross Detwiler and Ryan Mattheus, both expected back off the disabled list soon. Washington will also be throwing Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann in the three Dodgers games, putting its own best pitching foot forward. Dan Haren, who has a 1.64 ERA (2 ER/11.0 IP) and 14 strikeouts in his two outings since his own return from the DL may be starting to show signs of being the solid veteran pickup that Mike Rizzo and company were hoping for when they signed him last offseason. With Taylor Jordan solidly holding down the fort at the back of the rotation in the meantime, the starting staff looks poised to lead the way.

Meanwhile, Rafael Soriano has closed out 25 of 29 save opportunities with a 2.25 ERA on the season. Tyler Clippard has been one of the best relievers in the game, winning six games out of the ‘pen while posting better than a strikeout per inning and a sub-2.00 ERA. Ian Krol and Fernando Abad have given Washington two lefty relievers they did not have at the beginning of the year, both joining Clippard in the sub-2.00 club thus far. Factor in some solid contributions out of the long-man spot by Ross Ohlendorf (2-0, 1.74 ERA) and the bullpen looks as solid as it has all year.

It’s taken a few months for all these pieces to come together and be on the field at the same time. But with a fully rested and healthy squad coming back from the All-Star break, these Nationals look as well constructed as they have been all year to finally put together the extended run that has thus far eluded them, the one they all know they will need to bring October NATITUDE back to The District.

What to Watch for: 7.11.13

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Washington Nationals (47-44) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (45-47)

RHP Jordan Zimmermann (12-3, 2.57) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (7-6, 3.90)

The Nationals hope to follow up on their victory Wednesday night as they aim for a four-game road split in Phildelphia. Washington bashed at least four home runs for the ninth time this season in its 5-1 victory Sunday; five of those games have come with Gio Gonzalez, last night’s winner, on the hill.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. Werth RF

6. LaRoche 1B

7. Rendon 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

LUCKY NUMBER 13

Jordan Zimmermann takes his second crack at his 13th win of the season, which would be a National League high and would set a new career mark for the right-hander, before even hitting the All-Star break. Zimmermann is 4-1 with a 1.67 ERA in six starts against NL East foes this year and the Nationals have won five of his six intradivisional starts.

RISP-Y BUSINESS

The Nationals are 0-for-16 with RISP during their current series at Citizens Bank Park after going 12-for-35 (.343) during their just-completed 3-game home sweep of the Padres.

IT STARTED WITH A SLAM

Ian Desmond’s grand slam in the 11th inning capped the scoring in Washington’s 6-2 victory here at CBP on June 19. Desmond’s June 19 slam seems to have sparked the fortunes of Nationals, who are a 13-8 (.619) and sport a +23 run differential (104-81) since.

Highlights: 7.10.13

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7.10.13 – Nationals 5, Phillies 1

Stat of the Game: The Nationals hit back-to-back home runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, the fifth and sixth times they’ve gone back-to-back this season.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Gio Gonzalez won for the fourth time in as many starts to improve to 7-3 and lower his ERA to 3.03.

It Was Over When: After Philadelphia scored in the seventh, Washington added a fifth run in the top of the ninth to provide the final margin.

What to Watch for: 7.10.13

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Washington Nationals (46-44) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (45-46)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-3, 3.14) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (10-2, 2.73)

The Nationals look to get back on track behind Gio Gonzalez in a battle of lefties, as they take on Cliff Lee in Philly. Gonzalez is riding a personal three-game winning streak, and his 2.20 ERA since May 11 is the fifth-best in the National League over that stretch.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. Werth RF

6. LaRoche 1B

7. Rendon 2B

8. Ramos C

9. Gonzalez LHP

ALL-STARS GALORE

Bryce Harper, Jordan Zimmermann, Davey Johnson and Head Athletic Trainer Lee Kuntz will represent Washington and the National League in the 84th MLB All-Star Game, which will take place on Tuesday, July 16 at Citi Field in New York City. Harper will be both the youngest player in history to start an All-Star Game for the NL and the first player to represent the Nationals in multiple All-Star games (also 2012). Zimmermann currently leads the NL with 12 wins and is 14-0 in his last 22 starts at home dating to May 2012. Ian Desmond has a chance to join them as a Final Vote candidate. You can vote for #DesiIn13 at nationals.com/vote through 4:00 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.

CATT’S MEOW

Stephen Strasburg (sixth, 2.45), Jordan Zimmermann (seventh, 2.57) and Gio Gonzalez (18th, 3.14) all rank among the NL’s top 20 in ERA this season. Among teams with at least three qualified starters, the Strasburg-Zimmermann-Gonzalez triumvirate is baseball’s best as they’ve combined on a 2.72 ERA (104 ER/344.0 IP) this year.

DATE IN D.C. BASEBALL HISTORY

2008 – Left fielder Wily Mo Pena records 11 putouts to establish a Nationals single game record for outfielders in an 11-inning 7-5 setback vs. Arizona.

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