Gio Gonzalez continued his impressive Grapefruit League run with a 4 1⁄3-inning outing against the Atlanta Braves last Tuesday, holding the Nationals’ NL East rivals to one run on three hits and a walk in what ended up a 3-1 win for Washington.
That start left the 31-year-old left-hander with a 1.10 ERA (2 ER in 16 1⁄3 IP), four walks and nine Ks in five starts so far this Spring, over which he’s held opposing hitters to a combined .151 batting average, and as Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker noted after that game, while you don’t know if it will carry over into the regular season, it’s nice to get off to a good start either way.
"You don't know, but it sure helps to start the season after coming off a good spring," Baker explained, as quoted by MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. "It helps a lot, confidence-wise, concentration-wise."
This afternoon, in West Palm Beach, FL’s Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, Gonzalez takes on the Houston Astros in the Nationals and ‘Stros shared Spring Training facility in a 1:05 PM EDT start that’s available live on MLB.tv.
Gonzalez tossed 76 pitches last time out, and will look to build on that total and his success thus far this Spring, which has included limiting the free passes he’s issued in his outings. He managed a career-low 2.99 BB/9 last season (59 BBs in 177 1⁄3 IP) and has avoided issuing more than one walk in any of his Grapefruit League starts.
Will he continue his strong Spring to the season this afternoon?
Here’s the lineup that will back Gonzalez up against the Astros:
NOTE: Today’s game, as mentioned above, is available via MLB.tv, though it’s Houston’s ROOTSW feed. The Astros also have radio coverage available via MLB.com’s GameDay audio.