Through four starts this season, all of them with Matt Wieters behind the plate, Gio Gonzalez is putting up the kind of numbers that could help him reach his preseason goal of returning to the All-Star Game.
Dusty Baker told reporters this Spring that he had bigger hopes than an All-Star appearance for the 31-year-old left-hander as they prepared for a second season together.
Gonzalez has been an All-Star before, Baker explained, and he’s won 21 games, though he’s been pretty much a .500 pitcher since he went (21-8) back in 2012 in his first run in D.C.
“We got to get him back to that confidence,” Baker said, as quoted by MASN’s Pete Kerzel.
“Because he had to have supreme confidence when he won 21. He’s worked hard, he wants it. And we need him. We need him badly.”
Gonzalez took the mound in New York’s Citi Field this afternoon (8-1) in 13 career starts in the Mets’ home, with a 1.64 ERA and .170/.254/.260 line against in 82 1⁄3 innings pitched in Flushing, Queens.
He improved to (9-1) in 14 starts with a 6 1⁄3-inning outing in which he held the Mets hitless through five and limited the Nationals’ NL East rivals to one run on two hits.
Gonzalez threw 30 of his 107 pitches in the first inning, when he worked around two walks, then settled in for another solid outing in what ended up a 3-1 win.
“Gio started out a little rough,” Baker said after the game, “but Wieters directed him through the game and he settled down really after the second inning — third inning, then he got his changeup, his changeup became better, his fastball location was better and had his breaking ball going on. He had an excellent performance.
“He ran into a little trouble there but he got out of it.”
“You’ve got to give him a lot credit,” Baker continued, “but I’ve got to give Wieters a lot of credit for directing him through those jams and mixing his pitches up. Him and Matt are working very good together, and so like I said, you’ve got to give both of them a tremendous amount of credit and that was a big game for us to win today.”
Gonzalez improved to (2-0) on the year, with a 1.35 ERA, 3.31 FIP, seven walks (2.36 BB/9) and 21 Ks (7.09 K/9) in 26 2⁄3 innings.
The Nationals won their second straight over the Mets and their sixth straight overall, improving to 12-5 on the year.