Though Gio Gonzalez didn't get the results that he wanted from his start in Atlanta, he was coming off an 8.0 inning, 112-pitch outing against Cincinnati in D.C. in which he'd held the Reds to one run on one hit. Before the Braves scored five runs on seven hits in 4.0 IP this week in Turner Field, Gonzalez said that the work catcher Kurt Suzuki did to prepare for the Nats' competition allowed him to trust the veteran backstop whenever the two worked together. "I've been [working] five years with 'Zuki," Gonzalez said, "so we've always been on the same page."
"We have a great track record together and I think they do a great job," Gonzalez continued, "Not only with Zuk, but the rest of our guys in the catching department. We have such great guys and the way they go about their stuff. So, it's almost to a point where you can trust them."
Gonzalez went on to say that it wasn't just the catchers who came prepared, adding that it's, "... the same thing with [Pitching Coach Steve McCatty]. They know what they're doing. They do their homework. They're constantly going over hitters."
After Jordan Zimmermann's eight scoreless against the Braves last night, he credited Suzuki with making it easy for him to work on the hill. "'Zuki and I have been on the same page pretty much every start," Zimmermann told reporters, "And everything he put down tonight I was thinking about throwing before he even put the fingers down, so it's definitely easy when you're on the same page."
Add Dan Haren to the list of pitchers who are pleased with the Nats' catchers. In his case, however, it was Wilson Ramos behind the plate as the veteran right-hander tossed eight strong innings against the Atlanta Braves in a 3-1 win. It was Haren's best outing yet, and he credited the Nationals' 25-year-old backstop after the game:
"Wilson had a really good feel of how they were going to take their at-bats," Haren crediting @wramosc3 on his game-calling— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 3, 2013
Haren allowed four hits, one run and one walk in eight innings in Turner Field and earned his third win of the season and his second-straight after beating the Reds last weekend. After that outing, Davey Johnson said the pitcher looked more like himself, or, "That was more like him," as Johnson put it. When Haren's on, the manager explained, he, "... moves the ball around [and] pitches. And that's what he did today, which was nice to see."
Johnson liked what he saw from Haren again tonight in Atlanta, telling reporters, "'That's the kind of ballgame he can pitch. It came at a great time, too.'" Haren said it was a win his team really needed:
Dan Haren: "We needed that game. We needed it bad." On losing two to Atlanta earlier: "I think that's as frustrated as we've been."— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) May 3, 2013
Johnson showed faith in his starter late in the game. The manager visited the mound with two down and Chris Johnson due up with a runner on, but Haren said he was confident he could get the third out. "He was going to take the ball from me," Haren told reporters, "And I said I felt good against this guy, and he let me have him. I had a good plan against him so I wanted to take the ball against him, and then, you know, when it got to the ninth inning I was fine with [Rafael] Soriano taking it, but I wanted that guy. He got him. Swinging with a 1-2 splitter in the dirt. Talk about trusting your catcher.
• VIDEO: Watch Dan Haren's highlights.
"Wilson called a really, really good game," Haren said, "I mean, I don't think I shook him more than once or twice and it's nice when you get in a rhythm with a catcher like that."
Good to have Ramos back. Great to have him and Suzuki as a tandem.