Washington's Nationals travel to Jupiter, Florida this afternoon to take on the Miami Marlins (split squad) in Grapefruit League action from Roger Dean Stadium.
On the mound for the Nationals against their NL East rivals, will be veteran left-hander Gio Gonzalez, who makes his first start of the Spring and his first outing under the guidance of new Nats' pitching coach Mike Maddux.
Gonzalez talked this winter about his history with Maddux and his Hall of Fame brother.
"I actually worked with Mike in 2011," Gonzalez said. "Obviously when we met together to go to the All-Star Game in Arizona."
"[Maddux] was my pitching coach and his brother was my pitching coach for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. So I had a chance to work with both of them and I love them both, their personality, you can tell they're definitely brothers."
In an interview with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier this week, the 30-year-old lefty talked about his early interactions with Maddux this Spring.
Gonzalez was asked if Maddux has made an early impact on the Nats' starters?
"Immediately, right off the bat," he said. "He's done the pitchers' meetings. He sat down with a lot of us and kind of [broke] us down.
"He really wants to pick our brains, each one of us and see what we're thinking when we're out there on the mound.
"It's not just grab the ball, throw it. It's more like there has to be a purpose behind everything that you do, and with that purpose is building confidence. And I think that's what Mike has been doing with all of us, is just getting to know each and every one of us and trying to figure us out and basically put our strong game on the mound."
Gonzalez's strong game, he said, involves pounding the strike zone and challenging hitters.
"I'm going to try to minimize my walks," he explained. "I want to be more aggressive in the strike zone and now I think, with the new mechanics, with Mike making me watch the strike zone the entire time, I think I can pick up my target a little bit more."
Will the work they've done (and his new mechanics) translate into results on the mound?
We'll see this afternoon when the lefty goes out for what will likely be two innings of work on the Marlins. He'll be followed on the mound by Bronson Arroyo, Lucas Giolito and more...
Here's the lineup for this afternoon's game via Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes:
Today's lineup against the Marlins, at least as posted yesterday. Gio, Arroyo, Giolito scheduled to throw two each: pic.twitter.com/pukfMXdoDC— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) March 4, 2016
Game Time: 1:05 PM EST. Today's game is on the radio, but it's the Marlins broadcast, so it's only available via MLB.com's At Bat app unless you're in Florida.