Washington Nationals’ left-hander Gio Gonzalez needed 109 pitches to get through five innings in his last start before Sunday’s regular season finale in D.C., giving up a total of five hits, five walks, and three earned runs in what ended up a 4-1 loss to Philadelphia’s Phillies.
“He had a lot of near misses,” Dusty Baker told reporters after Gonzalez fell to (15-8) on the season with that loss.
“His breaking ball was backing up and backing up out of the zone, and then usually his fastball inside he can command it for strikes but he was just missing tonight.”
“I should’ve done a better job of attacking the strike zone,” Gonzalez told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.
“If I was more in the strike zone, I think it would’ve been a different outcome. I can’t put it on anything else but myself and say ‘Throw more strikes.’ That’s pretty much it.”
Sunday afternoon, in the Nationals’ regular season finale, Gonzalez struggled out of the gate, giving up a single by Chris Bostick, two two-out walks to Josh Bell and David Freese, a HBP on Jordan Luplow that forced in a run, a base-clearing double by Max Moroff, and a two-out RBI hit by Jacob Stalling that put the Pirates up 5-0 at the end of a 39-pitch opening frame.
It was a 5-3 game when the lefty took the mound in the second, after Anthony Rendon hit a three-run blast in the bottom of the inning, and 5-4 when he came out in the top of the fourth, following an RBI double by Jayson Werth, but three straight one-out hits in the fifth ended his outing with the score 6-4 in the Pirates’ favor.
Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 Ks, 93 P, 60 S, 7/1 GO/FO.
“Gio was under the weather,” Baker told reporters after what ended up an 11-8 loss to the Pirates.
“He’s been there for a few days now. I could sort of tell, because it looked like he had lost some weight. Early in the game, the strike zone, that was a big pitch on Bell.”
“No. It’s tough for Dusty to say that,” Gonzalez said when he was informed of Baker’s comments, as quoted by MASN.
“I didn’t want him to say that at all. That’s not an excuse. It’s always a tough situation to be put in the last game of the year and try to pitch for something.”
Gonzalez was asked if, in spite of the results on Sunday, he was happy with the way the 2017 campaign went overall.
“Before this start? Oh, I felt great,” he said. “This was awesome. I felt like I actually did something, and then last game, just today’s game was — did nothing, took a couple steps back, which is what I wanted to do, right? That’s why I pitched the last game of the season.”
Gonzalez finished the 2017 campaign (15-9) with a 2.96 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 79 BB (3.54 BB/9), and 188 Ks (8.42 K/9) in 201 IP, over which he was worth 3.3 fWAR. When he passed 180 innings, his contract for the 2018 season with the Nationals was guaranteed at $12M.