Washington Nationals: Gio Gonzalez finesses a win

rjuckett
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 29: Gio Gonzalez
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 29: Gio Gonzalez /
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Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez curved the Arizona Diamondbacks away 3-1. A huge win powered by Matt Wieters and Michael Taylor.

The Washington Nationals needed a big afternoon from Gio Gonzalez and they got one.

The Nats snap their latest losing streak behind Gonzalez’s seven strong innings. In their 3-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, he fanned eight while scattering six his and two walks. Arizona’s only run came in the seventh.

Gonzalez has found his Zen. Mistakes early no longer bring further errors. An early bout of wildness or high-ball count is ignored, and he is a master of pounding the zone and keeping opposing hitters off balance with a combination of off-speed and a fastball topping out at 91.

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You need not throw flames to be effective. Gonzalez threw a season-high 114 pitches and 72 were counted as strikes. Not bad, eh?

BULLPEN GREAT AGAIN

After an early April bout of wildness, Brandon Kintzler picked right off where he left 2017. In earning his sixth hold, he tossed seven pitches in a scoreless eighth. Nifty to do that with a hit and a strikeout.

The key to Kintzler’s success came with a delivery tweak found through coaching. Once spotted, his sinker stopped hanging in the middle of the strike zone allowing good things to happen.

Kudos to Sean Doolittle.

As he pitched in his third straight game, Doolittle locked down his fifth save of the year on 15 pitches. Although the changeup is an adventure pitch when tired, his rocket fastball is not. The movement and tail at 95 makes it an unhittable pitch.

When not overused, this bullpen is fantastic. Once the regulars get healthy and blowout opponents, the rest issues will work themselves out. Really.

WIETERS AND TAYLOR KABOOM

Matt Wieters and Michael Taylor’s solo shots off the eternally slow T.J. McFarland were the difference in the win.

Wieters weight loss has improved his overall game. His arm speed throwing out runners is better, and he is seeing pitches well at the plate. Although it will not change everyone’s mind about him, the combination of him and Pedro Severino as catchers works.

Unless there is an injury that is a position no longer needing a fix come July.

Taylor, the last few days, has found comfort with his swing. A key hit here and there, including his third-inning blast, give hope the Washington offense can find another reliable bat as the injury bug sorts itself out.

Next: Kendrick offensive glue for Nats

Austin Voth earned promotion to Washington. Not sure when he will pitch. Austin Adams was optioned down.

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