Results tagged ‘ Gio Gonzalez ’

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.

What to Watch for: 7.5.13

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San Diego Padres (40-47) vs. Washington Nationals (44-42)

RHP Jason Marquis (9-4, 3.74) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (12-3, 2.46)

The Nationals got their second 8-5 win in as many games in last night’s series opener against the Padres. Gio Gonzalez recovered from a rocky start to notch his third straight win, while Wilson Ramos drove in three more runs after racking up five RBI in his return from the Disabled List on Thursday. Washington sends Jordan Zimmermann to the mound today, in search of his National League-leading 13th win.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Werth RF

7. Rendon 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

GREAT 8

By posting five- and three-RBI efforts in twin 8-5 victories the last 48 hours, Wilson Ramos became the fourth National (2005-present) to record as many as eight RBI in two consecutive team games, joining Josh Willingham (9, July 2009; 8, July 2009), Ryan Church (8, April 2006) and Vinny Castilla (8, April 2005). Ramos’ eight-RBI feat is impressive considering it required only eight at-bats.

THE POWER OF THREE

Stephen Strasburg (third, 2.24), Jordan Zimmermann (sixth, 2.46) and Gio Gonzalez (18th, 3.14) all rank among the NL’s top 20 in ERA this season. All three will face the Padres this weekend. Among teams with at least three qualified starters, the Strasburg-Zimmermann-Gonzalez triumvirate is baseball’s best as they have combined on a 2.62 ERA (97 ER/332.2 IP) this season.

WERTH THE WAIT

Thanks to a second consecutive three-hit game, Jayson Werth is now batting .311 (32-for-103) with 12 walks, six doubles, four home runs, 17 runs scored and 18 RBI in 28 games since returning from the DL (right hamstring) on June 4.

Turning Points

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When turning points of a game happen with mammoth home runs, like the one Wilson Ramos hit on Thursday afternoon, they are easy to spot. But sometimes there’s more subtlety to such events, especially when they take place on the other side of the ball. The Nationals used just such a moment Friday night, as Gio Gonzalez pulled a Houdini act to swing momentum for his team on their way to an 8-5, series-opening victory over the San Diego Padres.

Gio Gonzalez has finally received consistent run support, winning three straight starts.

Gio Gonzalez has finally received consistent run support, winning three straight starts.

Before we get to the moment itself, let’s take a step back to Gonzalez’s last start on Sunday against the Mets. Lost in the melee of the 13-2 Washington onslaught was the fact that Gonzalez was in trouble in the first inning, with two runners on and just one out. But the lefty buckled down to get out of the frame unscathed, and the offense responded with four runs in the next half inning to take a lead the Nationals would never relinquish.

On Friday night, the Padres had already plated a first-inning score when Logan Forsythe and Jesus Guzman opened the second with a single and a double to put runners at second and third with nobody out. But again Gonzalez stepped up his game, striking out the next three batters to get his team back in the dugout still down just a run. This time the bats responded with five runs and never looked back, scoring eight runs for the fourth time in six games.

While that still hasn’t happened every game in the last half-dozen, four out of six is pretty solid. If the Nationals went on to win four-of-six each time over their remaining 76 games, they would finish with 95 wins. While it’s easy to look for a prolonged winning streak to prove a team turnaround – and the Nationals would certainly gladly take one of those – sometimes it is the smaller shifts, the ones that often go unseen, that can have the most profound impact.

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