Gio Gonzalez started the second game of three for the Washington Nationals during their only other trip to Citi Field to play the New York Mets this season, back in the third week of April. The Nats had dropped three straight to Atlanta at home in D.C., then traveled to Miami where they took two of three from the Fish before heading to New York for the first games of the year with their NL East divisional rivals. Stephen Strasburg started and lost the first game against the Mets' Matt Harvey, and Gonzalez matched up against Jeremy Hefner in the second. Gonzalez was out of the game after four innings and 90 pitches, having allowed five hits, five walks and five runs with most of the damage done in the fourth when the Mets collected three of their five walks and three singles while Gonzalez threw 41 of his 90 pitches.
"'Just one of those moments,'" Gonzalez told reporters after the first of two four-inning, five-run outings he's had this year. "'Back to the drawing board.'" Gonzalez was (2-2) in the month of April with a 5.34 ERA and 4.12 FIP, but just a .220/.324/.398 line against him over his first 32 IP. He walked 18 (5.06 BB/9), struck out 36 (10.13 K/9) and surrendered four home runs (1.13 HR/9) in six starts. In May, the Nats' 2012 21-game winner was (1-1) in five starts with a 2.48 ERA, a 3.58 FIP, .205/.279/.303 line against him, 12 walks (3.31 BB/9) and 24 Ks (6.61 K/9) in 32 2/3 IP in which he surrendered two home runs (0.55 HR/9).
So far in June, the Nationals' left-hander is (1-0) in five starts with a 2.16 ERA, a 3.09 FIP, 12 walks (3.86 BB/9), 37 Ks (9.99 K/9) and three home runs (0.81 HR/9) surrendered in 33 1/3 IP in which opposing hitters have a .185/.262/.305 line. The Nationals' lefty takes on the Mets for the second time this season this afternoon in Citi Field in the rubber match of the Nats' three-game set in New York. Gonzalez is (3-1) in six career starts against the Mets with a 3.82 ERA, 3 HR (0.82 HR/9), 17 BB (4.64 BB/9) and 28 Ks (7.64 K/9 in 33.0 IP against New York. Can the Nats' lefty lead the Nats to a series win in the rubber match with the Mets?
Here's the Nats' lineup for the series finale in Citi Field:
Davey's Lineup, Sun. @ NYM/G81: Span cf, Rendon 2b, Zimmerman 3b, LaRoche 1b, Werth rf, Desmond ss, Bernadina lf, Suzuki c, Gonzalez lhp.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) June 30, 2013