Though he’d shown signs of improvement in his last three starts heading into the All-Star Break, Gio Gonzalez took the mound last night winless in eight outings overall with a 6.51 ERA, 20 walks, 31 Ks, and a .304/.385/.507 line against in 37 1⁄3 innings pitched over that stretch.
Gonzalez wrapped up his own first half of the 2018 campaign with six strong on the mound in PNC Park in which he gave up six hits and two earned runs.
“It was great to know through five I had only 65 pitches, that’s huge,” Gonzalez said after the loss.
“That’s awesome and a good feeling knowing that I just keep the ball rolling, keep going the same way.
“It was just a really good step in the right direction.”
Gonzalez looked like he might be taking a step back early last night, in the series opener with Milwaukee’s Brewers in Miller Park, putting the leadoff runner on in each of the first three innings, though he gave up just one run (on a sac fly) through three.
Back-to-back walks in the first two at bats in the fourth inning both came around to score, however, as the Brew Crew jumped out to a 3-1 lead.
Gonzalez retired the side in order in the fifth, but a two-out walk (his fifth) and single (the Brewers’ sixth hit) ended his outing in the sixth, and both runners (Erik Kratz and Nate Orf) came in a little later in the inning on a bases-loaded triple by Christian Yelich that put the Brewers ahead, 6-1.
Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 5 Ks, 107 P, 64 S, 8/1 GO/FO.
“I thought he pitched well,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters when asked about Gonzalez’s outing after the loss to the Brewers.
“He had one [inning] where he walked a couple guys, it cost him a couple runs, that’s the gist of it, but he came back settled down and kept us in the ballgame.”
“Just can’t walk people,” Gonzalez said in his own post-game interview.
“Just got to go out there and be more aggressive. The balls they did put in play, they just found holes, that’s all it was. Executed some pitches I wanted, the results that I wanted, ended up being a different result, ended up finding a way, so aside from that still went out there and was happy to go out there in the sixth.”
Gonzalez had one clean inning in the fifth, when he said he felt like everything lined up.
“Just talking with [Brandon] Kintzler, slowing down, and same thing with [Matt Wieters], slowing down, trying to get my timing [was] just a little off and trying to get back in place,” he said.
“Just getting back from the [All-Star Break], just trying to find my arm slot, and finally found it in that fifth — kind of the fifth inning, and tried to carry it for the sixth, fell behind on Kratz, and that was it.”
“I’ve got to do a better job again, it’s definitely on me,” Gonzalez acknowledged, as quoted by MLB.com’s Stephen Cohn.
“I need to go out there and do a better job as a starter and give our team a chance to win. Can’t be doing that when I’m walking people and putting their runners in position. It’s just unfortunate. I’ve got to do a better job.”
Gonzalez’s streak of winless outings was extended to nine-straight with the loss, and he’s got a 6.70 ERA, 25 walks, 36 Ks, and a .302/.388/.485 line against in 43 IP in that stretch, after he put up a 2.60 ERA, 28 walks, 63 Ks, and a .228/.305/.336 line against in 64 1⁄3 IP over his first 11 starts this season.