Gio Gonzalez (6-8, 4.53 ERA) vs. Danny Salazar (11-3, 2.75) – 7:10 p.m ET, broadcast on MASN
The only Washington Nationals starter that picked up a win last week was Gio Gonzalez. On July 20 against the Dodgers, Gonzalez went six innings, gave up one run on three, struck out six, and walked two in his second straight win.
Gonzalez did run into some trouble in the second inning when he gave up a run and threw 28 pitches, but he didn’t let that run burst into a big inning. This month, the left-hander has given up six runs in three starts. But, he has only won two road games since mid May.
Against the Indians in his career, Gonzalez is 5-0 with a 0.81 ERA in seven starts, but all of those wins came when he was with the Oakland Athletics. Mike Napoli is 3-for-12 with a home run and five RBI’s in his career against Gonzalez.
Gonzalez will go up against some tough competition in All-Star Danny Salazar. Against the Royals on July 19, Salazar went 6.2 innings, gave up two earned runs on eight hits, struck out seven, and walked one in a win.
The 26-year-old right-hander hasn’t lost in any of his last nine starts (May 22 against the Red Sox). Over that stretch, he’s only given up more than three earned runs once. While Salazar is seventh in the American League in strikeouts (125), he does have his fair share of walks (47 – seventh in the AL).
Salazar hasn’t faced the Washington Nationals in his career, but the only starter with more than one at-bat against him is Ben Revere (2-for-3).
Prediction: While Gonzalez hasn’t been great this season, he has found consistency as of late. But, due to his bad road record this seaso and Salazar being 5-1 with a 2.83 ERA in eight home starts (7-1, 2.31 ERA at night). With those stats in mind, I will take the Indians to win the series opener.
Next: Tomorrow's Matchup