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 →
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 →
Tonight’s matchup between the New York Mets (47-49) and the Washington Nationals (56-39) pits Mets ace and 13-game winner R.A. Dickey against Nationals 12-game winner Gio Gonzalez for the second time in less than one week.
Dickey (13-1, 2.84 ERA), who is tied for the league lead in wins with 13, is coming off of a 9-5 win in last week’s start against the Nationals. Since that start, he has made one relief appearance in which he tossed one inning in an 8-5 loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers that saw him surrender a two-run home run to Juan Uribe. Dickey is 2-0 in as many starts against the Nationals this season with a 1.84 ERA.
(Bill Kostroun – AP)
Gonzalez (12-5, 3.32 ERA), who is enjoying one of his best seasons, comes off of a 9-5 loss to the Mets – his shortest outing of the season thus far. He was pulled after 3.1 innings, allowing six earned runs on six hits and three walks. Gonzalez has only faced the Mets twice in his career, posting a 0-1 record in two starts with a 6.10 ERA.
The Nationals will be looking to take the second game of a three-game series after routing the Mets 8-2 in last night’s extra-inning affair.