This week’s Nationals player of the week goes to the only starter who won a game, Gio Gonzalez
This week, the Washington Nationals went 2-4 at home and lost series to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. Some offensive players had great weeks such as Daniel Murphy (.500, one home run, six RBI’s), Wilson Ramos (.473, one home run, six RBI’s), and Trea Turner (three triples).
However, this week’s award goes to a starting pitcher and its not Max Scherzer (10 strikeouts, two earned runs allowed in seven innings Saturday). It goes the only pitcher who won a start this week, Gio Gonzalez.
On Wednesday night against the Dodgers, Gonzalez had one of his best starts of the year since May. He went six innings, gave up one run on three hits, struck out six, and walked two on 97 pitches to win his second consecutive start and his third in his last four games. It was the lone win the Nationals had in that series.
The only inning that Gonzalez had an issue in against Los Angeles was in the second. He threw 28 pitche and ended up allowing an RBI single to Charlie Culberson. But, he was able to settle down and only give up one hit for the final four innings (Yasiel Puig double in the fourth).
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According to Brooks Baseball, Gonzalez’s best pitch that night was his changeup. Out of the 19 changeups that he threw, seven were swings and misses and only one of those changeups was not an out.
After posting a 6.95 ERA in June, Gonzalez’s ERA is down to 3.06 in three starts this month. That is his lowest ERA since the 1.42 he had in four starts back in April. This month, he has given up six earned runs and his opponents batting average is at .222. Plus, he has pitched into the sixth inning or better in eight of his last nine outings.
This week, Gonzalez will be going up against the Indians and the Giants on the road. Since May 18, Gonzalez has only won two road games and both of them were against the same team, the New York Mets.
With Joe Ross still on a rehab assignment and unlikely to come back the next time through the rotation, the Nationals need Gonzalez to eat innings at the back of the rotation since they aren’t getting any innings from the fifth starter spot (Reynaldo Lopez or Lucas Giolito).
While Gonzalez isn’t going to have the dominant outings like Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, or Tanner Roark might, the Nationals lone left-handed starter needs to work on his consistency in the second half of the season. If he can do that, it only adds further depth to an already strong rotation.