Nats' lefty Gio Gonzalez gets the start today, coming off a +3.1 fWAR 2013 campaign in the nation's capital in which he posted a 3.36 ERA and 3.41 FIP, giving up 17 HRs (0.78 HR/9) and 76 walks (3.50 BB/9) while recording 192 Ks (8.83 K/9) in 32 starts and 195 2/3 IP.
Gonzalez's season was a step down from his first in D.C. following the winter 2012 trade from the Oakland A's. Pitching for the NL East division champs that year, the left-hander, who turned 28 late last season, was (21-8) with a 2.89 ERA, 2.82 FIP, nine home runs (0.41 HR/9) and 76 walks (3.43 BB/9) allowed in 32 starts and 199 1/3 IP in which he recorded 207 strikeouts (9.35 K/9).
Gonzalez spent this winter working out and throwing bullpen sessions with retired New York Yankees' catcher Jorge Posada. When he spoke to reporters at NatsFest this winter, the left-hander said he was excited about what the Nats did to improve the team.
"Doug Fister, Jerry Blevins, Matt Williams and Nate McLouth," Gonzalez said, listing the winter's key additions, "those to me, it's been a great offseason for everyone. Getting those guys on board and going on the right path and a I think [GM] Mike Rizzo is [making] the point that we're trying to go somewhere this year and trying to make it to the playoffs and World Series."
Gonzalez makes his first start of 2014 in Grapefruit League action today. He's not the only one making a spring debut this afternoon.
Jayson Werth, who was supposed to start earlier this week, but was delayed by a bicep strain, is pencilled in hitting third and playing right field for the Nationals.
Here's the Nationals' lineup for the game with the Mets:
Game time 1:05 pm EST from Space Coast Stadium in Viera, FL. Again, the game is only available via Gameday audio.
Who's listening to the Nationals?