Washington Nationals' left-hander Gio Gonzalez, who, as a lifetime AL player before this season is kind of new to the whole hitting and running the bases thing, collected the second hit of his career and his first extra base hit in the top of the fifth of yesterday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies. Ian Desmond came up next and hit a groundout to the right side of the infield, allowing Gonzalez to break for third, at which point the 26-year-old left-hander made one of the more awkward attempts at a slide you're likely to see. Gonzalez started his slide late, slid over the bag like it was a highway rumble strip and almost collided with umpire Rob Drake, who was caught off guard and backed away from the pitcher as Gonzalez continued into foul territory. Why exactly Gio felt the need to slide when there wasn't likely to be a play at third, who knows?
Gonzalez regained his composure as he stood up and dusted himself off, then almost immediately broke into laughter, no doubt spurred on by whatever Nats' third base coach Bo Porter had to say about Gonzalez's "technique." Phillies' third baseman Placido Polanco even turned to check on the pitcher. Gonzalez and Porter shared a moment of laughter, no doubt aware that the entire stadium (and more importantly his Nats' teammates) had just witnessed what might be one of the worst slides in baseball history. Nationals' manager Davey Johnson was still laughing about the play when he met with the press after the game.
"[Gio] doesn't know what city he's in when he's up there swinging," the 69-year-old skipper said, "And he slid into third on the sac. I mean, you know, he had no clue, but he'd better get the clue, because he's going to be on base, he's a pretty good hitter."
Gonzalez had another outstanding outing, going 7.0 innings and allowing just four hits, a walk and one earned run while striking out seven to improve to (2-0), with a 0.43 ERA, eight hits, one run and three walks allowed in three starts and 21.0 IP at home in Nationals Park, over which he's struck out 22 batters. Impressive numbers, but it was his unnecessary and unintentionally hilarious slide into second yesterday that still had Nats fans talking after yesterday's win.
• Sliding lessons with Gio Gonzalez: