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 →
Today is September 12, 2012, and if you have been living the past week underneath a rock, cut off from all forms of communication, then you probably still believe that Stephen Strasburg will take the mound tonight at Citi Field for his final start of the 2012 season with the Washington Nationals (88-54). Well, I am sorry to say that Strasburg will not be pitching tonight, as he was shut down last Saturday afternoon effective immediatelyfollowing his lackluster three-inning effort the previous night.
Instead, John Lannan will make his third start of the year for the Nationals after spending an overwhelming majority of the season with the Syracuse Chiefs. With Lannan on the mound, the Nationals will look to complete a three-game sweep of the New York Mets (65-77). In doing so, they will have swept the Mets twice this season and won 12 of their last 13 games at Citi Field dating back to 2011. Standing in their way will be rookie right-hander Matt Harvey, who will make just two more starts before he is shut down. Continue reading →
Washington Nationals rookie Christian Garcia‘s road to the majors has been well chronicled – eight years in the minor leagues spread across eight different teams were joined by three elbow surgeries, including two ulnar collateral ligament reconstructions, or what Nationals fans should now have no trouble recognizing as Tommy John surgery.
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.
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 →
It was an eventful weekend for the Washington Nationals (86-54), who dropped two of three games to the Miami Marlins and had their lead in the National League East cut to 5 1/2 games. In addition to failing yet again to take a season series from the Marlins, the Nationals also received word that young right-hander Stephen Strasburg would be shut down prior to his final expected start of the season. How did Strasburg take the news?
“I don’t know if I’m ever going to accept it, to be honest with you,” Strasburg said. “It’s something that I’m not happy about at all. That’s not why I play the game.”
Last night, Edwin Jackson took a tough-luck loss after throwing seven stellar innings of two-hit ball, walking just one and striking out a season-high 11 batters. Unfortunately, Jackson made one mistake. He left a first-pitch fastball over the plate in the seventh for Ike Davis, who lined the pitch to left for a two-run home run, the only runs of the game. Today, the Washington Nationals (74-46) look to take the rubber match of a three-game series with the New York Mets (57-63) before beginning an important series with the Atlanta Braves. The Mets give the ball to right-hander Jeremy Hefner, who will oppose lefty Gio Gonzalez for the Nationals. Continue reading →
Ross Detwiler notched his seventh win of the season last night, leading the Washington Nationals (74-45) to a 6-4 victory over their division rival New York Mets (56-63). The Nationals’ offense was powered by a Michael Morse grand slam in the fourth inning, which was followed by a two-run home run from Bryce Harper in the fifth. Tonight, the Mets, losers of seven of their last 10, look to get back in the win column when they send Jonathon Niese to the mound. The Nationals have won eight of their last 10 and will counter with right-hander Edwin Jackson, who will be pitching on an extra day’s rest. Continue reading →
After a grueling post All-Star break stretch that included 35 games in 34 days, the Washington Nationals returned from an 8-2 road trip to enjoy a day off in the nation’s capital. Tonight, the Nationals (73-45) will begin a six-game home stand with the New York Mets (56-62). Nationals’ left-hander Ross Detwiler, who will pitch on normal rest and replace Edwin Jackson, will look to make the team winners of eight of their last 10 as he takes on the Mets’ veteran left-hander Johan Santana. Continue reading →