In two Grapefruit League starts and 4 ⅔ innings pitched so far this Spring, 29-year-old Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez has allowed five hits, two walks and four earned runs. All four earned runs came in Gonzalez's second start this past Saturday afternoon in a 4-0 loss to Miami, in which the Marlins jumped on the southpaw early with three straight hits (two singles and a two-run double) to start the game.
"'They were swinging early,'" Gonzalez told reporters after the 4-0 loss to the Fish. "'I mean the first three batters, I must have thrown five pitches. It's just the way it is.'"
In spite of the early runs allowed, both Gonzalez and Nats' skipper Matt Williams were happy with the outing for different reasons.
"'He threw first-pitch strikes to most guys and his curveball was good,'" Williams explained.
"'I thought it was really good. He had good velocity, 93-95. He felt good about it and so did I.'"
Gonzalez's good feelings had more to do with his health than the results on the mound. After a 2014 campaign in which he dealt with a shoulder issue that landed him on the DL for the first time in his career, Gonzalez was just happy to be throwing without any pain.
"'Two starts down my arm feels fantastic,'" Gonzalez said, as quoted by Florida Today's David Jones. "Strength of the arm feels great, body feels great, composure just excitement, all in all I felt like I was back in 2012, just having fun, smiling.'"
Gonzalez takes the mound for start no.3 in Grapefruit League action this afternoon at 1:05 PM EDT in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium where the Nationals take on the Detroit Tigers.
Here's the Nationals' lineup for today's game:
#Nats lineup vs. #Tigers: Taylor CF, Desmond SS, Harper RF, Zimmerman 1B, Ramos C, Stewart 3B, Ka'aihue LF, Espinosa 2B, Gonzalez P— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 19, 2015
LISTEN IN: Today's game is on the radio in D.C. with Charlie and Dave calling the action on WJFK 1580 AM and via MLB.com's Gameday audio.