Watching Washington Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez through the early innings of yesterday’s eventual 7-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, one would have likely had a hard time believing that the left-hander is in the running for the National League Cy Young Award. It is especially true when you consider the performance that New York Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey put on just a few hours earlier when he earned his 20th win of the season after tossing 7 2/3 innings, allowing just three runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out 13 batters.
But if you were to check the box score after the game, Gonzalez’s start would have appeared to be business as usual – three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out six through six innings. After suffering a hiccup in the first inning, which included three walks and three runs on a lofty 37 pitches, Gonzalez settled down. The following five innings, through which he allowed not a walk or a run, required just 69 pitches.
Now, once again, Gonzalez sits atop all of baseball after earning his major league leading 21st win as he continues to build his case for the NL Cy Young. But for Gonzalez, the path to the award is still very much an uphill climb as two contenders remain in the mix – one obvious and one less so. Continue reading