The Washington Nationals have a 4-3-2 series record through nine series this season, taking the early-season sets they've played with the Mets, Marlins and Astros, losing to the Braves twice and the Angels once and splitting their four-game sets with the Cardinals and Padres. The Nats have a chance to take 2 of 3 from the Philadelphia Phillies this afternoon in the finale of their series in Citizens Bank Park.
Gio Gonzalez takes the mound at 3:05 pm EDT in Philly.
The Nats' 28-year-old left-hander is (5-2) in eight career starts against the Nats' NL East rivals heading into today's start with a 2.66 ERA, 18 walks (3.20 BB/9) and 56 Ks (9.95 K/9)in 50 2/3 IP against Philadelphia, over which he's held Phillies' hitters to a combined .214/.288/.332 line.
After a rough outing in Atlanta, and in spite of a shoulder issue in his start against the LA Angels, Gonzalez has been solid in his last three starts, with a 3.00 ERA over his last 18 IP. He's (1-0) in the last three with the Nationals 3-0 when he's taken the hill. The Nats are 5-1 in Gonzalez's starts so far this season, with the left-hander (3-1).
Six starts into his third season with Washington, Gonzalez has a 3.25 ERA, a 2.92 FIP, 13 walks (3.25 BB/9) and 38 Ks (9.50 K/9) in 36 innings of work. He will, however, be working with backup backstop Sandy Leon for the first time this season:
No word on whether it's the usual day game after a night game thinking that has Jose Lobaton sitting for this afternoon's matchup. Lobaton was hit by a pitch in the in the fifth inning of last night's game and Sandy Leon replaced him in the seventh.
"[Leon] got hit in the shin with that pitch and with the little time off, not moving around all the time it got pretty stiff," Nats' skipper Matt Williams explained after last night's game. "He's got a nice little ball on there, so we decided it was best to get on it right away in case we've got use him tomorrow."
Adam LaRoche, who is nursing a sore quad, left last night's game early with the field a mess after a rain delay and the game seemingly out of reach. He did, however, go 2 for 2 with a double and a home run for two of the Nationals' four hits on the night before he left.
"He's okay," Williams told reporters last night. "Today, he hit the double, he wasn't going great on the double. I think he's got more in there, but he didn't want to push it and then he hit the homer and we decided to get him out of there and in a game like this rest him as much as we can."
The only other change today: Kevin Frandsen's in at third and hitting second with Anthony Rendon moving over to second for the finale while Danny Espinosa sits. Rendon's hitting fifth...
Game time 3:05 pm EDT... which just seems weird...