Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Gio Gonzalez's Own Opening Day - WBC Gio Or NLDS Gio?

USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez makes his first start of the 2013 campaign tonight in the nation's capital where he takes in the Miami Marlins in Game 2 of 162, following up on Stephen Strasburg's dominant performance against the Fish on Opening Day. All the links that are fit to link...

In the first two postseason outings of his career, pitching on the biggest stage he'd been on in his five-year MLB career, Washington Nationals' left-hander Gio Gonzalez gave up six hits, 11 walks and five earned runs in 10.0 innings over which he struck out 10 batters. In Game 1 of the NLDS, Gonzalez struggled with his control, walking seven St. Louis Cardinals, but he struck out five and gave up just one run on five hits, throwing 110 pitches in 5.0 IP. "I gave them five good innings and I gave them two earned runs," Gonzalez said after the game, "All said and done, with all that damage, you look at it for what it was, kept the team in the game."

Following his start in Game 5 of the NLDS with St. Louis, which saw him allow five hits, four walks and three runs in 5.0 IP in which he threw 99 pitches, he said much the same. "'I left winning, that's all that matters,'" Gonzalez told reporters including MLB.com's Mike Fiammetta, "'Gave the team a chance, and that's what they wanted out of me. I think we all battled, we all gave it all we had. We left it all on the field.'"

The next big stage Gonzalez pitched on was an international one in the World Baseball Classic. A calmer Gonzalez held the Puerto Rican WBC entry scoreless over five innings pitched in which he gave up just three hits, struck out five, and walked no one, throwing 69 pitches, 30 fewer than he threw in five innings in Game 5 of the NLDS. Gonzalez's WBC pitching coach, Greg Maddux, was impressed with what he saw from the Nats' lefty:

"He went out there and he threw every pitch. He's the reason that he didn't give up a run. To his credit, he located his fastball very well. I thought even threw some good changeups. I heard a lot about his curveballs, but I thought his changeup was pretty good last night, as well."

Will we see a calmer, controlled Gio Gonzalez on the mound in his first start of the 2013 campaign? The high pitch and walk totals from the postseason? Or the lefty who dominated throughout most of his 21-win 2012 campaign in the nation's capital? We find out at 7:05 pm EST tonight when Gonzalez makes his first start of the year against the Miami Marlins. Until then, links and lots of them... Starting RIGHT NOW!!!

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "[Gio] Gonzalez will take the mound Wednesday night at Nationals Park for his first start of the season as Major League Baseball’s investigation into him and other players named in the Biogenesis report remains ongoing." - "Gio Gonzalez, after offseason in spotlight, doesn’t break a sweat" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "The best thing about that pitch wasn’t that it was a strike, or that it signaled the start of a much-anticipated season for the locals. The best thing was it landed with a sweet thud in the mitt of Wilson Ramos." - "Wilson Ramos' return a hidden highlight of Opening Day" - Mike Harris, Washington Times

• "Monday, [Wilson] Ramos showed no rust behind the plate. First and foremost, he called and caught a shutout." - "Wilson Ramos: Nationals catcher is back, hoping for no more stops" - Tracee Hamilton, The Washington Post

• "[Wilson] Ramos' stat line -- 1-for-2 with a single and a walk -- was pedestrian, but those numbers almost didn't matter on this day." - "Ramos soaks in emotional return to field" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "I think experiencing the playoffs will be a help to the younger players. I think talent is the ultimate and that's how you win in the playoffs, but experience helps." - Mike Rizzo - "Nationals Pastime: Rizzo takes a look back and ahead" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

VIDEO: "What’s in store for the Nats this season? (Video)" - Mike Wise, James Wagner, Adam Kilgore - Washington Post

• "During Spring Training, a report from the Miami New Times linked [Gio] Gonzalez and other Major League players to an anti-aging clinic called Biogenesis, which reportedly supplied PEDs." - "Gio Gonzalez keeps focus on game between the lines" - nationals.com: News

• "[Gio] Gonzalez’s career season of 21 wins and 2.89 ERA was his first in the National League. Gonzalez did what he was supposed to: utterly dominate the easiest out in the lineup." - "An interesting look at Gio Gonzalez’s season" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "'Are you glossing over [Stephen] Strasburg getting yanked after 7 innings and 80 pitches intentionally?' [Jeff] Passan asked 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny Tuesday." - "Time to Remove Strasburg’s Training Wheels" - Chris Lingebach, CBS DC

• "The Nationals spent $28 million over two years to sign closer Rafael Soriano during the offseason, a surprise move meant to bolster an already-strong bullpen." - "New Nationals closer Rafael Soriano off to a quick start" - Brian McNally, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "The Nationals started their 2013 Major League Baseball season with Stephen Strasburg on the mound and enthusiasm buzzing in the stands." - "Scenes From the Washington Nationals' Season Opener" - Laurel, MD Patch

• "Kurt Suzuki’s bonsai tree" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "[Gio] Gonzalez has a knack for getting caught up in the moment when pitching on a big stage, something he admitted this spring when revisiting his playoff struggles." - "Ready for the grind" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "In the Morning Brushback, the at-bat of the game made its debut. This, along with Harry Pavlidis’s weekly blog posts, are our first steps in exploring baseball data in a slightly different way." - "PitchFX comes to Nationals Journal" - Mitch Rubin, Washington Post

• "Now that we've broken down [Bryce] Harper and [Stephen] Strasburg's efforts backwards and forwards and backwards again, however, we can talk a bit about [Rafael] Soriano's 1-2-3 ninth..." - "Nationals Pastime: Some opening day leftovers" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The ritual is one that closer Rafael Soriano has been doing for some time. For him, it simply means the work day is over." - "Rafael Soriano, untucked: Nationals' new closer ends workday in style" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Many Nationals suggested the key to [Stephen] Strasburg’s start was how he mixed up his pitches and established himself early in the count. The thing is, neither really happened." - "A deeper look at Stephen Strasburg’s opening day efficiency" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Manager Davey Johnson believed that [Stephen] Strasburg could have gone more than seven innings, but the atmosphere of Opening Day was too much for Strasburg to handle." - "Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals - April 1, 2013" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "Let's all just marvel for a few minutes. Marvel at baseball and at the glorious scenes it provides us — at the thousands and thousands of people it brings together on a daily basis from April to October." - "The beauty of baseball: photos of each stadium from opening day" - Mike Oz, Big League Stew - Yahoo! Sports

• "1. Washington Nationals: An improved defense. A healthy offense. A deep rotation. And they're coming off a 98-win season. They're the odds-on favorite to win it all." - "MLive.com MLB Power Rankings, Week 1: Detroit Tigers trail only Washington Nationals for top spot" - James Schmehl, MLive.com

• "I can’t wait to see the Braves and Nationals fight it out all year. I really like what each team did to make that next step." - "Looks like Nationals’ year. Really" - Rob Lucas, Beloit Daily News: Sports

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Hagerstown: "The older brother of the Nationals' famous young hitter, a new-look uniform and a brand new manager highlight the 2013 version of Single-A Hagerstown Suns." - "New-look Hagerstown Suns ready for challenge of 140 games" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Double-A Harrisburg: "The 6-4, 230-pound 'large animal' as Washington Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann called [Matt] Skole spent the majority of spring training with the Washington Nationals." - "Top Washington Nationals prospect Matt Skole plays both infield corners" - Andrew P. Shay, PennLive.com

Double-A Harrisburg: "Harrisburg Senators hard throwing righty Nathan Karns is a splendid example of allowing the minor league grass to mature over time." - "Harrisburg Senators RHP Nathan Karns' hard work rewarded by Nationals organization" - Andrew P. Shay, PennLive.com

Triple-A Syracuse:

Triple-A Syracuse:

• NATSTOWN:

• "Opening Day Starter Trivia" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "The Nationals Park neighborhood is one of the most expensive ballpark neighborhoods in the country, according to a list put together by The Atlantic's theatlanticcities.com." - "Nationals Park neighborhood fourth-most expensive in U.S." - Washington Business Journal

• "A 16-ounce beer at Nats Park costs $8.25, the most expensive beer among MLB ballparks." - "Nationals games among most expensive for families" - Jeff Clabaugh, WTOP.com

• "In tomorrow’s Post, business writer Thomas Heath tackles an interesting dilemma about the Nationals: With their value at an all-time high, when should they cash in and sell the naming rights to Nationals Park?" - "Should the Nats sell the naming rights to Nationals Park?" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Stat of the Game: Bryce Harper homered in each of his first two plate appearances of the season to provide all of the game’s scoring. He became the youngest player ever to homer twice in his team’s first game of the season." - "Highlights: 4.1.13" - Curly W Live

• "Ho hum, fresh off his 2-HR Opening Day, Bryce Harper attended a private screening of the new Jackie Robinson biopic "42" hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House Tuesday night." - "Bryce Harper went to a private screening of '42' at the White House last night" - Nats Enquirer

• "Season ticket holders react to the Nationals’ souvenir 'commemorative' paper tickets" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "Bryce Harper, Cricketer" - Natstradamus

• "Opening Day 2013 Photo Buffet Part 2" - Nationals Inquisition

• "A Matt's Bats Chat with Amanda Comak" - Matt's Bats

• "The Nationals Review Podcast Episode 17" - The Nationals Review

• "Opening Shark 2013" - Sharkadina

• "Brycie!!" - Washington NationLOLs

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "Matt Harvey aced his freshman finals, but now has to avoid succumbing to the sophomore slide." - "Mets pitcher Matt Harvey gets another shot at Pods in season debut" - Mike Puma, NYPOST.com

Braves: "Braves relief pitcher Jonny Venters will not throw at all for a period of four weeks after getting a platelet-rich plasma injection in his sore left elbow Tuesday." - "Braves’ Venters gets plasma injection in elbow" - David O'Brien, www.ajc.com

Marlins: "I spoke about Fernandez and other Marlins-related issues this morning with ESPN's Keith Law. Here's the podcast of that discussion. I begin talking at about the 19:20 mark if you wish to fast forward." - "Talking Jose Fernandez, Marlins with ESPN's Keith Law" - Clark Spencer, Fish Bytes, Miami Herald

Phillies: "ONE GAME in and it's hard not to come to this conclusion: The Phillies are really not playing in the National League East this season." - "Phillies should focus on winning Wild Card" - Sam Donnellon, Philadelphia Daily News

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