Washington Nationals: Gio Gonzalez making an All-Star case
In the first game of the Beltway Series, it was Gio Gonzalez who dominated. This helped the Washington Nationals to a 6-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
The Washington Nationals claimed their fourth win in the row, to start a nine-game road trip, against the Baltimore Orioles. And with all the talk of Max Scherzer and his Cy Young year, Gio Gonzalez is making a pretty compelling case to be an All-Star alongside him.
Gonzalez had his longest outing of the season on Monday, pitching 7.2 innings of shutout ball. He now has the lowest ERA in the Nats rotation and the sixth best in all of baseball at 2.10.
If the All-Star game took place next week, the Gonzalez would almost certainly have a place on the team. Right now, the only pitchers with a lower ERA in the Nationals League are Carlos Martinez and Jacob DeGrom.
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Although this gives him a good case, there are causes for concern about regression. He still has an relatively high 1.29 WHIP, 60th among qualifiers. And with the alarming number of base-runners, this could come back to haunt him as the ball flies in the summer months.
But Gio Gonzalez has now taken his FIP below 3.00 with this start, for the first time this season. So if he can string a few more longer dominant outings together, he’s firmly in the conversation.
Michael Taylor is sizzling hot
For someone who’s spot may have been in question not long ago, Michael Taylor has started the ball much better of late.
In the last seven games, he’s gone 8 for 26, good for a .308 average and has driven in five runs too. Another couple of performances like this, and he can finally clear the Mendoza Line, with Taylor currently sat at .199.
This run however, has been fueled by an absurd .471 BABIP, in large part to the nine strikeouts. His career mark is .324, so it’s nothing new to him getting good fortune by hitting the ball hard, but not at this current level. So enjoy it while it lasts, but don’t expect it to stay this way long-term.
Trea Turner’s hit streak continues
In one of the quietest hit streaks in the major leagues, Trea Turner is now up to nine games. During the streak, he’s only 12 for 41 (.293) and has only been collecting one hit a night.
One thing that’s concerning about this hit streak, is that he has yet to draw a walk during the nine games. He’s also struck out eight times during the streak, which is reverting back to the 2017 version of Turner.
During the streak, he’s upped his swing-percentage at pitches outside the zone from 26% to 38%. So if he can lower that again, and start drawing a few more walks to go along with the hits, he’ll be able to maintain the leadoff spot, even when Adam Eaton returns.
The Washington Nationals square off against the birds again on Tuesday at 7:05pm. It will be former Oriole Jeremy Hellickson, who’s looking revenge against his old team, facing budding ace, Dylan Bundy.