With a 10-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers this afternoon, the Washington Nationals pushed their record to 92-59, lowering their magic number for clinching the National League East to six.
In the process, left-hander Gio Gonzalez reached a few personal milestones, joining some elite company in doing so.
Gio Gonzalez delivers a pitch just prior to his 20th win of the season — ESPN
The good news coming into this weekend’s final regular-season meeting between the Washington Nationals (89-56) and the Atlanta Braves (83-63) was that a series sweep at the hands of the Braves would leave the Nationals with a still-sizeable 5 1/2 game lead in the National League East. Of course, no one really expected that the Nationals would find themselves in such a position come Monday morning; but barring a win in tonight’s finale, it is exactly where they will find themselves, which explains the team’s renewed sense of urgency regarding the game.
“You don’t want to get swept anywhere, especially against the team behind you, so it’s a big game,” Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche said. “I think they’re all pretty big from here on out.”
If the Nationals hope to avoid a sweep and lower their magic number to a single digit for the first time this season, they will need a strong showing from Gio Gonzalez, the league’s sole 19-game winner. Braves left-hander Mike Minor will oppose him. Continue reading
Tonight, the Washington Nationals (87-54) and the New York Mets (65-76) – the two teams that represent the cities most affected by the tragedies that befell our nation 11 years ago – will meet in the second of a three-game series that somehow seems appropriate. The Nationals will wear their patriotic stars and stripes uniforms for the first time on the road tonight in honor of those who lost their lives in the attacks.
The game comes on the heels of Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez‘s 19th win of the season. And after 19 wins, Gonzalez is still unwilling to accept praise for his accomplishments. Now, after having eliminated the Mets from playoff contention, the Nationals will send right-hander Jordan Zimmermann to the mound in hopes of nailing down another series win. He will be opposed by 18-game winner R.A. Dickey, the man standing in the way of Gonzalez’s first Cy Young Award. Continue reading
After Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez won his major league-leading 19th game of the season last night in a 5-1 victory over the New York Mets, it is a bit difficult to avoid mentioning his name in the 2012 National League Cy Young Award conversation. Just ask Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who will try to match Gonzalez’s win total tonight as he takes the mound in the second of a three-game set between the two division rivals.
When asked by Mike Puma of the New York Post who he thought was deserving of the league’s top pitching honors, Dickey suggested that Gonzalez might be a worthy choice.
“I think his hits-to-innings pitched and strikeouts really reflect a consistently dominant year,” Dickey said.
If you are wondering, Gonzalez has allowed just 136 hits through a total of 181 1/3 innings pitched. No NL pitcher has a better ratio. He is also holding opponents to a stingy .202 batting average – better than any qualified pitcher in either league. As for strikeouts, Gonzalez comes in fourth with 191 and also boasts a K/9 of 9.84 that is second only to Stephen Strasburg.
But Dickey is no slouch himself, and likely only chose Gonzalez after being informed he was to leave himself out of consideration.
Dickey is 18-4 this year with a 2.64 ERA and 195 strikeouts through 198 innings pitched. Along with Cincinnati Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto, Dickey represents Gonzalez’s biggest obstacle for the award.
Ask Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez what he thinks about the recent buzz surrounding his candidacy for the National League Cy Young Award and the question is likely to be brushed aside.
“I want to continue to win for this team, continue to stay healthy and strong, keep battling and get some more wins for them,” Gonzalez said. “We are playing such great baseball. I think it’s selfish of me to think [about] myself.”
Those were his words last Wednesday after tossing seven shutout innings in the Nationals’ 9-1 win over the Chicago Cubs. But humble as he may be, Gonzalez surely has thoughts of the NL Cy Young Award creeping into the corners of his mind at this point, especially after continually being asked about it. Continue reading