Gio Gonzalez just can’t figure it out this season.
The left-hander has struggled more than he has succeeded in 2014, and he has really been the lone question mark in what has otherwise been a stellar starting rotation. While his performance on Tuesday night against the Philadelphia Phillies wasn’t horrible, the Washington Nationals certainly need more from him moving forward.
The two teams traded zeros for the first four innings at Citizens Bank park, and it was the home team that plated the game’s first runners. An unlikely candidate, Freddy Galvis, took Gonzalez deep for a two-run shot in the bottom of the fifth. He scored Grady Sizemore, who had tripled, with his first homer of the season.
The Phils would score again in the bottom of the sixth, as Darin Ruf went yard for his third homer of the season.
The Nats then began to rally. Anthony Rendon led off the top of the seventh with a single. Jayson Werth then grounded out, advancing Rendon to second. An Ian Desmond single and a Scott Hairston free pass then loaded the bases.
Wilson Ramos ripped a single to center field, scoring Rendon and advancing each runner one station. After a coaching visit, Kevin Frandsen joined the fun with a single of his own to score Desmond. That would cap the scoring in the seventh.
Down 3-2 in the top of the eighth, the Nats needed to make a push. Asdrubal Cabrera provided said push with a homer to lead off the frame. With the game knotted at three, Tyler Clippard came on for the bottom of the frame. Unfortunately, he was not as lights-out as Nats fans are used to.
Ben Revere reached on a throwing error by Desmond. He then stole second base and advanced to third when Jimmy Rollins flew out to Werth in right field. The next man up, Carlos Ruiz, had a very productive at-bat with a sacrifice fly to score Revere.
Having dropped two-straight to the Phils, the Nationals need to step it up the rest of the week to make up for a poor beginning. Given how hot they were entering this series, it’s hard to fathom them dropping off entirely following these two losses.