Gio Gonzalez: 2014 Year in Review

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Oct 4, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) laughs during batting practice before game two of the 2014 NLDS playoff baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: David Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Gio Gonzalez had an interesting 2014 season with the Nationals. He spent time on the DL for the first time since he joined the Nationals in 2012. He had an up and down year performance-wise, but finished the year strong.

This season was Gio Gonzalez’s third year with the Nationals. In 2012, he was a 21 game winner with an ERA of 2.89. In 2013, his record was 11-8 and his ERA went up to 3.36.
Gio’s numbers for 2014 continued the trend toward worse rather than better. His record was 10-10 with an ERA of 3.57.

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In breaking down Gio’s year in 2014, his shoulder injury clearly took a toll and is reflected in his performances.

April started out well for Gonzalez. He started six games and won five of them. His only bad start was his third of the year, against the Atlanta Braves. He gave up six runs in six innings. He walked four and allowed two home runs.

Gonzalez only made three appearances in May before he ended up on the DL. His start on May 4th, although it was a loss, was a pitching gem. Against the Philadelphia Phillies, he pitched 7.1 innings and only gave up one run, taking the loss in a 1-0 game where the Nats batters could not hit Roberto Hernandez or score a run.

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His other two starts in May were disasters. Against the Oakland Athletics on the road in a 9-1 loss by the Nats, Gonzalez gave up seven runs in 4.1 innings pitched, walked four and gave up two home runs. Gio only lasted three innings in his next start against the Mets. He left the game having given up five runs, walked two and allowed a home run.

After the May 17 start against the Mets, Gonzalez ended up on the DL. He was having shoulder soreness and tightness which was clearly affecting his pitching. Gonzalez did not pitch again in the majors until June 18th. He was on the 15 day DL and then had a couple of rehab starts at Potomac to get ready to get back to the Nats.

Gio’s first start off the DL with the Nats was a litle rough, as should be expected. He pitched five innings, gave up four runs and walked three. He kept the Nats in the game against Houston, which the Nats won though Gio got a no decision for his effort.

His next two starts in June were better and better. He went six innings against the Milwaukee Brewers and gave up no runs, though he walked four. He then went seven innings against the Chicago Cubs and again gave up no runs. His first start in July followed this trend. Again, he gave up no runs and walked one in an eight inning appearance.

The inconsistency that had plagued Gonzalez all year reared its ugly head during his July 10th start against the Baltimore Orioles. In that appearance he gave up four runs in 6.2 innings, walking three. The Nats lost that game by one run and Gio took the loss. After the All-Star break, Gio’s first start ended up as a no decision as the Nats came back and won the game, but that was not due to Gonzalez’s performance. He only lasted 3.1 innings, gave up three runs and walked three.

Gio had a great start in his next outing on July 26th against the Cincinnati Reds. He was tagged with the loss, but only gave up one run and two walks in seven innings pitched. Next start against the Phillies–back to inconsistency as he threw 3.2 innings and gave up five runs in an ugly loss.

In August it was more of the same–up and down. He took a loss against the Mets on August 5th. Gio pitched six innings and gave up four runs. In some ways his worst appearance of the season was against the Braves on August 10th. Gio took the loss as the Nats lost the game 3-1. Gio battled but clearly did not have control of his pitches. He lasted 4.2 innings and only gave up two runs, but he walked four and threw an incredible 111 pitches in less than five innings.

He made three more appearances in August, with two so-so outings sandwiched around a great outing against the Arizona Cardinals where he pitched seven innings and gave up no runs. All three of these outings were no decisions.

Gio looked like his 2012 self in the month of September, when he found consistency and his curve ball. In his five September appearances, he went 4-1, and the only loss was against the Mets where he went 6.2 innings and gave up three runs.

He went seven innings in both of his last two games, giving up two runs against the Miami Marlins on September 18th and giving up no runs against the Mets in his last regular season start on September 25th.

The hope was that his strong finish to the season would carry over to the post-season. It was not to be. Gio has been known to lose focus when he has to participate in fielding balls in the infield or covering first base, and these flaws appeared in his start on October 7th. Gonzalez only lasted four innings, and did not give up any earned runs. However, the Giants scored two unearned runs on a bunt neither Gio or Anthony Rendon fielded and on Gio’s error fielding a ball hit by Juan Perez. A walk during the inning compounded the problems.

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