After Stephen Strasburg and the Nats lost a close game to the Braves on Monday night, they looked to even the series behind lefty Gio Gonzalez. However, Gio struggled early in the game and the offense was unable to disrupt Atlanta righty Tim Hudson(3-1) in an 8-1 loss.
Gonzalez (2-2) was unable to get into any successful pitching rhythm at any point in his start. His troubles started early when Atlanta shortstop Andrelton Simmons lined Gio’s second pitch of the game over the left field wall for a leadoff homer. While Gio did have strikeout stuff in this outing, he struggled with his command. In all, while he did strike out nine batters, he gave up five earned runs, walked five batters, and was forced to exit early after 95 pitches limited him to four innings. This year, Gonzalez has been the epitome of inconsistency. His starts early in April have either had no-hitter potential or an early exit. In particular, he has struggled against the Braves, going 0-2 while giving up 12 runs in 9 innings.
The real story of the game was the right arm and bat of Tim Hudson. In route to his 200th career victory, Hudson threw 7 innings of one-run ball. He struck out six batters and walked two. He also contributed a 2nd inning double and a solo home run off of reliever Zach Duke. With his 200th victory, Hudson joined Roy Halladay and Andy Pettitte as the only three active pitchers with that career milestone.
The Nationals have to be worried after the loss tonight. They dropped to 13-14, including 0-5 against the rival Braves, who improved to 17-9. Right hander Jordan Zimmermann (4-1) looks to give the Nats their first victory of the young season against Atlanta tomorrow night. The Braves counter with Paul Maholm (3-2) as they look for a 6-0 start against Washington.