Both Washington Nationals' skipper Matt Williams and Nats' lefty Gio Gonzalez were satisfied with the southpaw's last outing, a six-inning start on the road in Citizens Bank Park in which he gave up six hits, two of them home runs and three runs total in a 4-3 loss in which he received no decision.
"Couple of mistakes that they hit over the fence," Williams said. Freddy Galvis hit a 1-0 fastball out to left in the fourth inning and Phillies' first baseman Darin Ruf crushed a 2-2 fastball, sending another solo bast out to center for a 3-0 lead after six.
The Nationals rallied to tie it up at 3-3 only to have Tyler Clippard give up the eventual winning run in the bottom of the eighth.
Williams said it was a positive start overall for Gonzalez, who's been up and down all season, before and after he missed time on the DL for the first time in his career when he was diagnosed with inflammation in his shoulder in mid-May.
He did give up the home runs on mistake pitches, but he put together a relatively solid outing in his manager's view.
"His pitch count was low," Williams said. "He was competitive. He threw all of his pitches for strikes. Got out of an inning with a double play ball, which was good. He kept us in it, we were able to come back, just not quite enough tonight."
Gonzalez saw it as another step forward.
"It's progress," he told reporters after the start. "I mean, obviously, everybody wants to go six, seven innings scoreless, eight innings scoreless. It's a team that you're going to have to be scrappy about. It's been three seasons facing the same lineup. Different guys here and there, but it's a work in progress."
"Fastball was still live," Gonzalez explained, "curveball, changeup, so you leave a ball up they're going to hit it. That's baseball."
Since returning from a month on the Disabled List in May/June, Gonzalez is (3-5) in 13 starts with the Nationals 7-6 in his outings, over which he's put up a 3.35 ERA and a .236/.315/.331 line against.
Gonzalez is, however, winless in his last nine starts, posting a 4.38 ERA in 49 ⅓ IP over that stretch, with opposing hitters putting up a .268/.341/.389 line against him.
Tonight, the left-hander is starting in LA's Dodger Stadium for the second time in his career.
Last time he faced the Dodgers in Los Angeles was back in April of 2012, in his first month with the Nationals following the winter 2011-12 trade that brought him to Washington from Oakland.
In that outing, he gave up three hits, five walks and two earned runs in six innings of a 2-0 loss.
• Here are the lineups for the second start of Gonzalez's career in the Dodgers' home:
|WASHINGTON NATIONALS||LOS ANGELES DODGERS|
|Denard Span - CF||Dee Gordon - 2B|
|Anthony Rendon - 3B||Hanley Ramirez - SS|
|Jayson Werth - RF||Adrian Gonzalez - 1B|
|Adam LaRoche - 1B||Matt Kemp - RF|
|Ian Desmond - SS||Scott Van Slyke - LF|
|Bryce Harper - LF||Yasiel Puig - CF|
|Wilson Ramos - C||Juan Uribe - 3B|
|Asdrubal Cabrera - 2B||A.J. Ellis - C|
|Gio Gonzalez - LHP||Roberto Hernandez - RHP|