Through four starts and 12 innings this Spring, 31-year-old Washington Nationals’ left-hander Gio Gonzalez has allowed five hits, three walks and one earned run (0.75 ERA), holding opposing hitters to a .135 BAA. Can we believe? Should we believe? We know, we know it’s only Spring Training, but...
After a few up-and-down seasons, impressive stretches, and rough patches, Gonzalez, who finished third in Cy Young voting in his first season in D.C. in 2012, came into the 2017 campaign determined to turn things around and get back to being the All-Star-caliber pitcher he’s been in the past.
Last time out, in a five-inning outing against the New York Mets, Gonzalez dominated the Nationals’ NL East rivals, throwing five hitless innings in which he issued one walk, but erased the only baserunner he allowed on a double play.
"It was just one of those days you just keep going and keep attacking," Gonzalez told reporters, including MLB.com’s Jamal Collier, after the start.
Will he keep going and keep attacking once the regular season is underway? Gonzalez has frustrated and thrilled at times over the course of his time in the nation’s capital, running up high pitch counts in short outings and dominating in other starts, as he did during a 14-start stretch between late June and early September last season.
Gonzalez posted an (8-2) record, a 3.78 ERA and a .233/.294/.411 line against in 78 2⁄3 IP over that period.
Of course, that was preceded by an (0-6) stretch in which he posted an 8.44 ERA and a .320/.394/.510 line against in seven starts and 37 1⁄3 innings pitched, and he ended the season with a rough September (7.43 ERA, .343/.398/.465 line against in five starts and 23 IP) before struggling in his one postseason outing in the NLDS.
Which Gonzalez will the Nationals get this season? Thus far in Grapefruit League work, Gonzalez has impressed. Will that success carry over into the regular season?
Gonzalez tries to keep the good times going this afternoon when he and the Nationals take on the Atlanta Braves in The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Here’s the lineup that will take the field behind Gonzalez at 1:05 PM EDT:
NOTE: Today’s game is available via MLB.com’s GameDay audio, but it’s the Braves feed, so no Charlie and Dave...Boo!