Friday, April 6, 2012

Gio hopes to overcome butterflies

US Presswire photo
Gio Gonzalez makes his Nationals debut tomorrow afternoon at Wrigley Field.
CHICAGO -- He's had nearly 3 1/2 months to prepare for this moment, which has only allowed the anticipation to build up inside the pit of Gio Gonzalez's stomach.

That anticipation will peak shortly after noon CDT tomorrow, when Gonzalez takes the mound for the Nationals for the first time, starting his new club's second game of the season against the Cubs.

Then, the left-hander hopes, he can get down to business.

"Obviously, you're going to get butterflies here and there, but hopefully after the first pitch, it just goes away," he said. "I was talking about that the other day with my dad. You're going to get those jitters, you're going to get those butterflies. But after the first pitch, I think you're going to settle in and just get going. Back to baseball."

The Nationals are counting on Gonzalez to be an anchor on a deep and talented pitching staff, and they gave up plenty to acquire his services: prospects Brad Peacock, Tommy Milone, Derek Norris and A.J. Cole all were sent to the Athletics in late December in exchange for the 26-old lefty.

Gonzalez, who then signed a five-year, $42 million extension with his new club, wasted no time making his presence known this spring. He instantly became a popular and boisterous figure in the clubhouse, and more importantly, he performed well on the mound during his exhibition slate.

Manager Davey Johnson thought highly enough of the former 16-game winner and American League All-Star to name him the Nationals' No. 2 starter, lining him up right behind Stephen Strasburg. The ace made quite a statement during yesterday's opener, holding the Cubs to one run over seven sterling innings, and Gonzalez saw that only as extra incentive to make good in his own season debut tomorrow.

"Davey knew what he was doing," said Gonzalez (who will also start the Nationals' home opener Thursday against the Reds). "He knew what was going to come: [Strasburg] was going to go out and give them a great performance. ... After how he performed today, he set the tone. He set the tone for all of us."

59 comments:

UNTERP said...

Stay within yourself and you'll be fine...

Kirbs said...

Gio, here's to 2-0!!!!

MicheleS said...

Don't think Meat, It can only hurt the team.

Anywhooo.. hmm Ray's have tied it up in the 9th...

MicheleS said...

And Yanks lost.. Hmm Mariano blew the save.

NatsJack in Florida said...

And Mariano Rivera's ERA is 54.00. Gotta luv it!

Anonymous said...

The Chiefs lost 3 - 1. They got to Josh Wilkie ... but Roark did okay ... Corey Brown 3 for 4 with a triple ...

Did Gio say something about Johnson knowing what he was doing ...

The competition in Syracuse could get pretty fierce as well ...

Get Some Players said...

Be the ball Gio.

Be the ball.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Colorado Rockies....#1 starter Jeremy Guthrie, #2 Jamie Moyer....really???

MicheleS said...

NJ.. I am sure LannEn is wondering what he needs to do to be traded to CO.

SonnyG10 said...

Was watching the Orioles game today when I remembered I just purchased the MiBL package. Decided to see if the Chiefs were playing and there they were. I got to see the last half of the ball game. Awesome.

Gio up tomorrow, then Zimmermann. Wow I love this rotation. Look forward to seeing each of our starters. Go Gio!!! Go Nats!!!

baseballswami said...

Love the guy's personality - now let's hope he can pitch!

Anonymous said...

There is gameday for the Harrisburg Senators and Michael Morse just homered -- may his rehab be blissfully short!

Anonymous said...

Colorado Rockies....#1 starter Jeremy Guthrie, #2 Jamie Moyer....really???

The way Tracy has abused pitchers seems appropriate to me ...

NatsJack in Florida said...

Can't wait for Gio's National League debut. Expecting huge stuff.

The Fox said...

My job takes me to the bay area a couple times a year. When the Giants aren't in town I'll sometimes go and see an A's game. I don't follow the junior circuit as closely as the NL and I actually saw Gio pitch two years ago without really knowing much about him. His curve-ball is what got my attention and that how I remembered who I saw pitch. Here is a good example of it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2Dymzuzdiw

Steady Eddie said...

From the last thread....


Speaking of the Beast, he's done some gorse hacking tonight here in Bowie as DH for the Senators -- 2/3, double and a line drive dinger crushed to center. Ankiel also hit one out in the first and didn't have much of a challenge playing CF. Both left in the middle of the 5th and looked ready to come up when their DL time is up.

Morse's dinger was no cheap shot -- had distance to spare, and would have made it out of most MLB ballparks.

sm13 said...

Thanks SteadyEddie. That is great news. Hope to see them both hitting dingers at Nats Park next Thursday!!

JaneB said...

Oh, when I read the list of who we gave up, I remember the day I heard about it and said, "Gio who?" I've since fallen in love with the guy. I hope he has a stellar day. Because Brad and Tommy are budding aces....

Steady Eddie said...

Another nice thing to see from the Senators' game was Eury Perez looking very capable in center (moved over from right after Ankiel left) - he made a catch of a hard liner into the gap look easy, as he did in taking a quick route to settle into position under a warning track blast.

Josh Johnson also was smooth, though only with OK range, at short.

Only big downside was seeing both Perez and Chris Rahl each steal second with headfirst slides. Perez clearly got dirt burns on both hands which he was shaking the whole time he was at second, until he scored on Rahl's single. What are they teaching them at H-burg????

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

Gio Hopes To Overcome Butterflies

I know the Cubs aren't looking like strong contenders this season, but don't you think that's a little harsh?

natsfan1a said...

Go, Gio, go!

You'll be fine. Just don't forget to take the net with you and I'm sure you'll catch some fine specimens. What? Oh. Never mind.

natsfan1a said...

Wait. What am I still doing up? I gotta go to bed.

Cwj said...

Looking forward to finally seeing Geo pitch.
His curveball is supposed to be one of the best in baseball.

Cwj said...

Kudos to Adam Dunn tying the MLB record by hitting his 8th Opening Day home run yesterday.
Griffey Jr. and Frank Robinson are the only other players to have accomplished that.

I like Dunn and hope he has a comeback year.

natsfan1a said...

Good for Dunn! I also hope he has a comeback year.

NatsNut said...

I have a question about pitch counts - the part where they tell us a guy threw 82 pitches, 58 of them strikes - I thought I'd bring here for the experts.

First, is it the official scorer who gives the official pitch count and breakdown of balls and strikes? Second, is a pitch only counted by its placement regardless of contact?

So straight up balls and strikes looking are easy, but say a pitch was way out of the strike zone, but guy gets a hit anyway, ball or strike? Or say a guy has 2 strikes already but fouls off a pitch that was dead center in the strike zone, is that still a strike? Is it ever subjective?

Just curious. Just never thought about it much before.

NatsNut said...

Or, what if Wendelstedt, you know, for example, calls it a ball but some other mechanism (pitch track?) clearly shows it's a big juicy strike? Could the in-game, at-bat pitch counts ever be different from the official tally?

Anonymous said...

NatsNut said...
"Second, is a pitch only counted by its placement regardless of contact?"

I am pretty sure it is based upon the pitch result, not the actual pitch location. Any pitch that is swung at or called a strike is a strike.

Anonymous said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
"And Mariano Rivera's ERA is 54.00. Gotta luv it!"

So many sports analysts have got the Yankees as one of their top two teams in MLB. I think there just might be 5 AL teams - Red Sox, Rays, Tigers, Rangers and Angels - better than them.

UnkyD said...

Good question, Nut....

UnkyD said...

hehehe......:


Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...
Gio Hopes To Overcome Butterflies

I know the Cubs aren't looking like strong contenders this season, but don't you think that's a little harsh?

ehay2k said...

PFB line, Sec 3!

As for Dunn, I too hope he has a good year. But the odds of him coming back are nil.

sjm308 said...

NatsNut - never thought about the 2 strike situation before. If a guy fouls off 3 or 4 pitches they certainly are not balls but they have to be included in the pitch count so I am guessing they are included in the strikes/balls ratio. Certainly every time a batter swings, no matter where the pitch, that is a strike and noted as such.

With Wendlestat, I think you just throw up your hands and pray he is not behind the plate too many times in your career.

Anonymous said...

Any pitch that results in a ball or a HBP, is counted as a ball. All other are counted as strikes.

Positively Half St. said...

Sec 3-

Good one. I hope the Cubs play like butterflies a few more games. I want the Nats to be 3-0.

+1/2St.

Joe Seamhead said...

This two day wait between the 1st and 2nd game is torturous!
And yes every pitch swung at is a strike in the pitch count.
I also have quickly come around to appreciating Gio after throwing a fit the day of the trade. I still think we paid a very high price, but am now of the mindset that it was a good trade for both teams. He sure seems like a great addition.

Wally said...

NatsNut - you can also, if you are feeling ambitious, find out how many strikes were swinging strikes v. called strikes, broken down by pitch type (although I am not sure if you can break it down by pitch type by game; probably), where in the zone the strike was, how much movement each pitch had, etc. Really quite amazing data these days, although often it is described in statistical graphs, which can get a little thick if you are not familiar with them (I am not).

Usually I just go to Fangraphs. They'll either have what I am interested in, or I can figure out where to find it from there.

natsfan1a said...

I'm down with that as long as they don't sting like bees.

Positively Half St. said...

Sec 3-

Good one. I hope the Cubs play like butterflies a few more games. I want the Nats to be 3-0.

+1/2St.
April 07, 2012 8:40 AM

sm13 said...

I think GIO was "the" available pitcher this offseason. Yes, we paid a high price, but Rizzo was able to lock him up for the long term for a bargain price -- way below the cost if we picked him up as a free agent. This trade will go down as good for both teams, as I expect Peacock to become a good pitcher and either AJ Cole or Milone (pretty much a Lannan clone) will do some good things in the big leagues. It seemed as if the organization felt that Norris had peaked and that we have catching depth in the minors. But, Gio has the stuff and demeanor to be an Ace and those don't come around very often. No one pines over what the Braves gave up for Hudson, but he's been their number 1 for a while. I can't wait to see today and to cheer Gi-O, Gi-O on April 12th at home.

Kirbs said...

And also, remind Gio when binging to catch the ball with the bat, don't stab at the ball.

Kirbs said...

*bunting. Stupid spell check.

natsfan1a said...

Also don't forget that, when he gets a strikeout, it's K-O, K-O. :-)

NatsJack in Florida said...

Just scrolled through the 100 funniest movies of all time. How can "Zoolander" be on the list but not "The Gods Must Be Crazy"?

natsfan1a said...

I'm guessing that it depends on whose list you're looking at, as there are quite a few "top 100" lists out there (AFI, IMDB, various publications).

Joe Seamhead said...

I laughed my tookus off the first time I saw The Gods Must Be Crazy, NatsJack.

DWS said...

Agree NJ, "The Gods Must Be Crazy"? is a classic.
Go Gio!

natsfan1a said...

On a somewhat related note, Baseball Almanac's chronological list of baseball movies (needs updating for Moneyball, though).

natsfan1a said...

Er, I linked on the main movie page, but click on "baseball movie checklist" and you'll get there.

fast eddie said...

To Anon 7:30--
Tim Kurkjian of ESPN thinks the top six teams in all of MLB are in the AL: New York, Boston, Tampa Bay, LA, Texas and Detroit.
Which NL team would you put ahead of these??

baseballswami said...

I know we are all worried about offense, but it's only been the one real game. We scored 7 against the RedSox. In the first one or two games Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton are like 0 for 16, Pujols was o-fer. MoRivera and Valverde blew saves. Do we really think these are all indications of what is to come? I am encouraged by Desi and Danny getting on base, Zim hit the fool out of the ball and several hitters really battled in the late innings to draw walks and get on base. Those things are part of a good offense even though it didn't show in the score. I think we scored more runs than the Phils and Marlins so far. It's waaaay early. GYFNG!!!!! Go NatGio!!!

UnkyD said...

Kirbs: also remember the maalox, when "binging" lol...;-)

SayNoToClint said...

Yesterday Aaron Crow came in and walked the bases loaded vs. the Angels. He was then yanked and ended up being charged with 3 runs. But he got on Sportscenter for doing it!

SayNoToClint said...

Oops, meant to say he loaded the bases, but they were hits not walks. I transposed my box score columns.

NatsNut said...

I knew I'd get good answers here. Thanks!

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

natsfan1a said...
I'm down with that as long as they don't sting like bees.


1a wins the Internet again!

natsfan1a said...

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your servers. :-)

NatsLady said...

Don't have a server, 1A, just have a regular computer... Speaking of which, now that I have the Vulkano (like a slingbox) hooked up to my cable-box, turns out I don't need the TV at all, it's just a big monitor. Sooooooooo.... now that I can watch TV on my 'puter, should I return the big TV? Kinda got used to that feller, but it sure takes up space.

natsfan1a said...

Here ya go, NatsLady. :-)

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

Why not just use the big tv as a big ol' monitor?

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