Overall, Tom Gorzelanny had a wonderful season for the Nationals out of the bullpen in 2012. After a 2011 campaign in which he pitched for a dismal 4.08ERA in 15 starts and 15 relief appearances for Washington, Davey Johnson finally found a solid role for his lanky lefty as a long reliever. Bar a few exceptions, Gorzelanny pitched every 2-4 days for the Nationals this season and would usually rotate with Craig Stammen as the first man off the bench to replace the starter.
2012 Projections (ZiPS): 7-7, 4.09 ERA, 30 games (19 starts), 116.7 IP
2012 Actual: 4-2, 2.88 ERA, 45 games (1 start), 72 IP
Gorzelanny’s 2012 statistics clearly show that his actual performance outweighed projections by a long shot. Unlike previous years with the Pirates, Cubs, and even last year with the Nationals, Gorzelanny was no longer needed as a starting pitcher in 2012. He got the job done as a reliever and even thrived in a 2-3 inning role out of the ‘pen. Following a treacherous outing against the Astros on April 19, for example, in which he gave up six runs in two innings of work, Gorzelanny settled down and gave up just five earned runs in 14 appearances between April 21 and June 10. He became a go-to for his manager during the mid-months of the season and put Nationals fans at ease when he came into a game over the infamous Henry Rodriguez. While Gorzelanny’s number was only called six times in September, fans should remember that September began the Christian Garcia experiment that went way better than anyone expected. Gorzelanny’s one and only start came in the second-to-last game of the season against the Phillies on October 3. In 3.2 innings, he gave up just one run and four hits while walking two and striking out five.
According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Gorzelanny will likely be back for the 2013 and should receive a “modest raise from his $3 million salary in arbitration.” He has experience pitching at all points of a ballgame, and could certainly be considered an asset for Davey’s club going forward.
Season Highlight: Many to choose from for Gorzelanny, but it’s hard to forget the gem he pitched May 26 against the Braves. While Stephen Strasburg started the game and gave up a whopping four runs in five innings against the division rival, Gorzelanny would come in for three shut-out innings of work in which he gave up just two hits behind four strikeouts to help give the Nats an 8-4 victory.