Aug 5, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) pitches during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Gonzalez Was Good, But Needs To Take Next Step
With the injuries to Stephen Strasburg and Doug Fister having a mediocre 2015 season, a lot has been asked of Gio Gonzalez to be the number three starter in this rotation. Gonzalez was able to have success with the fastball on the inside corner and with his breaking ball, but Arizona did a good job of working out the left-hander’s pitch count.
On the night, Gonzalez went five innings, gave up two runs on eight hits, struck out seven, and walked one on 95 pitches (67 strikes). The one thing you can give Gonzalez credit for in this one was the ability to get out of key situations via the strikeout. An example of that came in the top of the second inning.
After an Aaron Hill walk and a single by Yasmany Tomas, Gonzalez struck out Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed, and Rubby de La Rosa to end the inning. Then, in the fifth, Gonzalez got out of a big spot with runners on second and third with one out by striking out Welington Castillo and Hill looking to end the scoring threat. While Gonzalez has given up no more than two earned runs in each of his last seven starts, he has to find a way to go deeper into games.
In his last three outings, he has failed to more than five innings and that is largely due to high pitch counts. He’s had strong outings, but he has to be able to get at least into the sixth inning on a consistent basis.
One decision that was puzzling when it came to Gonzalez was when Williams decided to let him hit in the fifth inning, even though he took him out after one batter in the top of the sixth. Williams said after the game that he wanted his pitcher to get through the sixth, but didn’t give him the chance to work his way out of another jam.
Next: Nats Offense Stalls After 1st Inning