After a 3-2 loss to the woeful Miami Marlins on Friday night, could the Washington Nationals look to Gio Gonzalez to help strengthen their struggling pen?
Friday night the Washington Nationals opened up a very important six-game road trip with a matchup against the at the time 4-15 Miami Marlins. The Fish hold the worst record in baseball, but it was Washington who looked like they were outmatched last night.
It was more of the same from the Nationals. Inconsistent offense, decent starting pitching, and the bullpen, especially left-handed relievers, not being able to get an out in a key spot. After starter Anibal Sanchez was replaced with the game 2-1 and the bases loaded, left-hander Matt Grace came into the game and on the first pitch hit the first batter he faced making it a 3-1 game.
This run turned out to be vital as Brian Dozier homered in the eighth cut the lead to 3-2, but Washington as unable to push across the tying run in the last two innings.
To this point of the season, the Nationals left-hander relievers have been about as bad as it gets. Grace holds a 7.71 E.R.A. and has given up 11 hits in seven innings pitched to go with a .344 BAA.
Tony Sipp, who the Nationals signed to be their lefty specialist, has also gotten off to a putrid start. The 35-year-old holds a 12.46 E.R.A. of his own to go with giving up eight hits in just 4.1 innings of work and a .381 BAA.
The Nationals left-hander arms are not even able to get lefties out at this point, and Sipp actually has been worse against lefties than he has against right-handed hitters.
At this point, Washington needs to explore all possible options to help fix this mess, and an intriguing one may have opened up on Friday. Ex-National Gio Gonzalez is expected to opt-out of his current contract with the New York Yankees if he is not added to the Major League roster Saturday. Mark Feinsand reported that there is an “increased sense” that Gonzalez will opt-out of the deal making him once again a free agent.
If Gio does opt-out, with the struggles the Nationals have had with their left-handers in the bullpen this season, would a reunion between the two make sense?
Gonzales is a better pitcher than Matt Grace, and in his career has had much more success including being better at getting out left-handed hitters. Gonzalez also would provide excellent insurance if one of the Washington starters goes down with an injury, being able to slide into the rotation and be at least a solid fourth or fifth guy.
Due to his circumstances, you would imagine Gonzalez will not be looking for anything more than a cheap, one-year deal, so the Nationals would have no obligation to pay him after this season.
Gonazlez has only pitched out of the bullpen in the playoffs last season for the Milwaukee Brewers, but you have to imagine he could at least bring a little bit better of production that what Grace and Sipp are at the current moment.
It may be a long shot, but the Washington Nationals have a serious problem with their left-handed relievers. He may not have much left in the tank, but it is at least worth a shot to reunite with Gio Gonzalez and see if he can be the answer the Nationals have been looking for.