Nationals at Cardinals: Grapefruit League GameThread - Gio Gonzalez vs the Cards

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals play the next-to-last Grapefruit League game of the season this afternoon in Jupiter, Florida's Roger Dean Stadium where Gio Gonzalez and the Nats take on the St. Louis Cardinals. It's on ESPN, MLB.tv and MLB.com Gameday Audio...

Through four Grapefruit League starts, 28-year-old Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez is (1-2) with a 2.70 ERA, five walks and 10 Ks in 13 1/3 IP over which he's given up 11 hits and five runs, four earned, while holding opposing hitters to a .224 BAA.

Gonzalez faces the St. Louis Cardinals for the second straight start this afternoon in Jupiter, Florida's Roger Dean Stadium after throwing 4 2/3 IP against them last week, giving up four hits, three walks and two runs, one earned to the Cards.

Gonzalez makes his final Spring Training start today in the Nationals' 1:05 pm EDT matchup with the Cardinals. His next scheduled outing after that will come in Game 2 of 162 with the New York Mets on Wednesday, April 2nd.

Gonzalez is coming off a +3.1 fWAR campaign in the nation's capital in 2013 which saw the southpaw post a 3.36 ERA and 3.41 FIP with 76 walks (3.50 BB/9) and 192 Ks (8.83 K/9) in 32 starts and 195 2/3 IP.

It was a less successful season than +5.1 fWAR first season in D.C. in 2012, in which Gonzalez was (21-8) with a 2.89 ERA, 2.82 FIP, 76 walks (3.43 BB/9) and 207 strikeouts (9.35 K/9) in 32 starts and 199 1/3 IP.

What will Gio do in year three in D.C.? His first start of the season is just a week away.

• Here's the lineup that will back the Nationals' left-hander up this afternoon in Roger Dean Stadium:

Who is Justin Bloxom you ask? He's a Nationals' '09 11th Round pick out of Kansas State University. Playing at Double-A Harrisburg in 2013, Bloxom, 25, put up a .250/.352/.354 line with 22 doubles and eight home runs in 131 games and 544 plate appearances.

In five minor league seasons, Bloxom has a combined .263/.341/.409 line with 101 doubles, 10 triples and 52 HRs in 523 games and 2,149 PAs.

Jose Lobaton gets another start and a chance to work with Gio Gonzalez as he continues to get to know the Nationals' pitchers.

• Game time: 1:05 pm EDT from Jupiter, Florida's Roger Dean Stadium. This afternoon's game is available on ESPN and MLB.tv and it's also available on the radio via MLB.com's Gameday Audio (though it's the Cards' feed).

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