Washington Nationals: Gio Gonzalez Ends Regular Season On Sour Note
By Ricky Keeler
In his final start of the regular season, Gio Gonzalez didn’t throw many innings in the Washington Nationals 3-0 loss to Arizona
Last night, Gio Gonzalez went to the mound for the Washington Nationals in his final start of the regular season. He was pitching with a heavy heart after his friend, Jose Fernandez, passed away Sunday.
In his final start before the postseason, Gonzalez wasn’t able to provide much length and couldn’t finish hitters off with two strikes the entire night. He went 3.2 innings, gave up three runs on eight hits, struck out four batters, and walked three on 100 pitches (56 strikes) in the 3-0 loss (game went five innings).
During this start, the Diamondbacks got the leadoff hitter on in three of the first four innings he pitched. While the Washington Nationals left-hander got some key groundball outs to minimize the damage, he played with fire a little too much. Out of the 21 batters he faced, Gonzalez only threw ten first pitch strikes.
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When you look at Gonzalez’s pitch breakdown, he had a tough time locating his changeup. According to Brooks Baseball, only five of his 13 changeups were strikes. As far as his September goes, teams are hitting .400 against the fastball (6-for-15) and .387 against the sinker (12-for-31) (Brooks Baseball).
If you look at Gonzalez’s September numbers, they do not instill any confidence if you are a Washington Nationals fan. The 31-year-old went 1-2 with a 7.43 ERA in five starts and opponents hit .343. Out of those five starts, he went five innings or fewer in four of them.
Against a strong lineup like the Diamondbacks, Gonzalez was lucky to give up only three runs. He did get out of a big jam in the second when he got Mitch Haniger to ground into a double play. However, that was one of only five groundballs that Gonzalez got the whole night.
Gonzalez is going to get an opportunity to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers because of the Nats pitching injuries and the Dodgers offense having struggles against left-handed pitching this year. In the postseason, the Nats are going to need Gonzalez to be an innings eater whenever he gets that start (likely Game 3).
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As the Washington Nationals head into the postseason, their starting pitchers are looking to end the regular season on a good note. Despite pitching with a heavy heart last night, Gonzalez is not going into the postseason with the best momentum. Even though the Dodgers have struggled against lefties, it’s tough to have confidence in Gonzalez to deliver a quality start right now.