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Washington Nationals vs Minnesota Twins: Exhibition GameThread - Gio Gonzalez in D.C.

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Washington and Minnesota play one more game that doesn’t count this afternoon in Nationals Park with Gio Gonzalez on the mound in the nation’s capital at 4:05 PM EDT.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals’ lefty Gio Gonzalez finished sixth overall in voting for the 2017 NL Cy Young after going (15-9) in 32 starts with a 2.96 ERA, 79 walks (3.54 BB/9), 188 Ks (8.42 K/9), and a .213/.298/.345 line against over 201 innings last season.

Gonzalez will earn $12M in 2018, after a club option in his contract was guaranteed when he reached 180 innings last summer (for the first time since 2013).

Will his seventh season in D.C. be his final campaign in the nation’s capital?

The now-32-year-old left-hander told Washington Post writer Jorge Castillo that he’s hoping for big things this season, with free agency possible next winter and the Nationals trying to get back to the postseason and then beyond the NLDS for the first time.

“I would love to have a big year with the team and with everything that’s going around, I would love to do that,” Gonzalez said. “I just got to stay healthy. That’s all I got to do.”

Gonzalez made four Grapefruit League starts, giving up 17 hits, four walks, and 11 runs, (7 ER) in 14 23 innings pitched, over which opposing hitters put up a .288 AVG against him.

After his last outing, which saw him give up six hits, two walks, and eight runs (four of them earned), the southpaw brushed off any thoughts that he might be concerned with a Spring Training outing.

“There were more positive results than what we saw out there,” Gonzalez said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “Don’t read into what you see. It’s all B.S.”

Gonzalez will start in today’s exhibition game against the Minnesota Twins, then wait for the series finale with the Cincinnati Reds in Great American Ball Park next Sunday afternoon to make his 2018 regular season debut.

HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR TODAY’S GAME WITH THE TWINS: