Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gio has long day in Nats' win

Photo by USA Today
After beginning Tuesday’s game with two called strikes and a strikeout on the White Sox’s first batter Alejandro De Aza, somehow Gio Gonzalez’ day quickly turned into a near disaster. He allowed the next three batters to reach base, balked in a run, and finished with 33 pitches in the first inning alone. Somewhere along the way he lost his command and lost it bad.

Gonzalez was happy with his velocity and stuff, he chalked it up more so to simply still finding his way in just his second start of the year. He mentioned six days rest as a factor as well.

“I’m still trying to get my arm where it needs to be,” he said. “Still a little kinks that I want to work on, especially attacking the strike zone and trying to get the first batter of every inning out. That’s things that I gotta work on and make sure to pound the strike zone.”

About that balk: Gonzalez let up the first run of the game by simply stepping off the mound with the wrong foot. With the bases loaded against Alexei Ramirez, Gio missed badly on the first three pitches to set up 3-0. He then battled back to force a full count before stepping back with his right foot, something home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi noticed right away.

Gonzalez took the earned run on the balk, his only of the day despite throwing 99 pitches through just five innings of work. He continued to labor through the 80-degree evening searching for the strike zone, but escaping innings unscathed.

“He’s done that before, but not quite that bad,” manager Davey Johnson said. “I guess he was just missing, I mean just off the plate. 100 pitches through five is usually not Gio. He had good stuff, just didn’t throw it over.”

Gonzalez threw 57 strikes on the day, battling through an order that took pitches and stayed patient at the plate. He was familiar with their approach having pitched in Oakland and as a once-member of the organization.

“They are just patient guys. I learned that with the American League, they’re very patient,” he said.

“They want to make sure to select one pitch and go out there, and when they find it they put it in play. That’s exactly what they were doing. They worked up the pitch count and that’s exactly what it was. Just trying to get me out quick.”

Gonzalez was pulled after the fifth even though he still had something left in the tank. But Johnson wasn’t about to let his number two starter go further this early in the season.

“I wasn’t going to go second time out 100 pitches,” he said. “I know he wanted to continue but he wasn’t going to continue for me, simple as that.”

Despite a long day for Gonzalez, he remained in line for the win until Craig Stammen allowed the tying run in the sixth inning. He also got his second hit of the year, an opposite field drive in the third inning to right fielder Alex Rios.

Rios had thrown Bryce Harper out at second earlier in the first inning when he tried to stretch a single into a double and, for some reason, Gonzalez attempted the same move in the third. Rios threw him out fairly easily and, despite his manager agreeing with the call, Gonzalez now says he learned his lesson.

“I’m too slow,” he said. “I’ve gotta start coming to terms with, hey, if you get a hit then be content. I’m not no power runner or anything like that. I’ve got to deal with my body, I’m just getting sluggish and older. That’s all it is.”

“I’m sure if Tony [Tarasco] had the chance he would have hog tied me and pulled me back to first."

27 comments:

Section 222 said...

Sounds like Saturday's game is on Fox. Big early season matchup. Strasburg vs. Hudson. If the Braves win tonight, they'll be 8-2 because Det will beat them on Friday. :-)

Very glad I'll be there instead of watching on TV.

ehay2k said...

Not a lot of mention about the baserunning errors by Bryce and Gio. Given how everyone was hitting, that could have been an extra run or two. Bryce was just being Bryce, I guess. But a little more attention to the scouting report would be a good thing for him - Rios can throw! Gio? No idea what he was thinking. From our seats, he was going to be out by a lot even as he lugged around first. And since when should a pitcher be sliding or risking hard contact on the basepaths? And in April no less? I hope he learns from that.

Good thing this is April and we are still finding ways to win, despite some mediocre-to-bad baseball. Seems odd that we actually played very good baseball against the Fish, who historically have caused us to do the opposite. Was it just the Hanley-factor?

I was originally in favor of Take On Me in the 7th inning stretch, but now I'm done with it. it's just that we're not encouraging anyone. Werewolves of London, for our very own WereWerth however, seems like it will stick. I'm all for that.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

NatsJack-

Re Rendon. I notice the Nats had him at 2nd base last night. Even at .190 he is out-hitting Espinoza. It's just a matter of time.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Come on Laddie. Give him some time.

Les_in_NC said...

Why would Davey say that he wasn't going to let Gio go over 100 pitches in his 2nd start the day after letting Strasburg do just that? I know these guys (the pitchers) are each very different in their demeanors, but Davey is the coach and Stras should defer to him not the other way around. I think everyone knew Sunday, that SS should have been pinch hit for in the bottom of the 5th inning but it didn't happen and it contributed to the loss.

I love Davey, but sometimes he frustrates me....

Gonat said...

Laddie Blah Blah said...
NatsJack-

Re Rendon. I notice the Nats had him at 2nd base last night. Even at .190 he is out-hitting Espinoza. It's just a matter of time.

April 10, 2013 11:07 AM
___________________________________

Rendon at 2nd base? Interesting, didn't a certain poster say a few months ago that wouldn't be happening

Section 222 said...

We're 5-2, averaging 2 HRs per game. 4 of 5 starters have been decent. Soriano has 3 saves in 4 chances. Drew has been good. Clipp has been good (except for last night). Harper is crushing the ball. Werth has some power. ALR just broke out of his o-fer. Ramos looks great. Desi is hitting, Span is getting on base and playing great in the field. Things are looking pretty bright to me, but if you've got issues, give them all a little time.

And give Take on Me some time too. :-)

ehay2k said...

LES_in_NC, the twice in a row had nothing to do with Stras. I think Davey was saying Gio had thrown close to 100 pitches his last time out, so he wasn't going to let him burn himself out in only the second game. (He was throwing about 20 pitches/inning.)

A DC Wonk said...

Sec 222 -- yes, we're 5-2, but, but, but, because we're worried! (Note: that was facetious).

For those who insist on seeing the glass as 1/3 empty, I'll point out (again, a bit facetiously) that at this 5-2 rate, we're on a 115-win pace ;-)

timeless46 said...

Just a thought. But I often find myself believing that the reasons Davey offers post-game for why he does something or the views he expresses about a player's performance frequently may bear only a passing resemblance to what he actually thinks.

But I also believe that is all part of managing.... and a large part of good managing. Quite frankly, it would make little sense for him to be completely forthcoming all the time.....

So I think you just have to take what he says with grain or two of salt.....

Section 222 said...

Right Wonk. And I should have added: We haven't yet heard a peep out of one Ryan Zimmerman. Now if people want to fret that Zim has lost it and will hit .217 with no home runs for the year, that's their right, but I think we all know he's going to become the Zim we know and love soon enough, and when he does, look out!

Also it's going to be 83 degrees at game time tonight. Woo hoo!

A DC Wonk said...

Just a thought. But I often find myself believing that the reasons Davey offers post-game for why he does something or the views he expresses about a player's performance frequently may bear only a passing resemblance to what he actually thinks.

But I also believe that is all part of managing.... and a large part of good managing. Quite frankly, it would make little sense for him to be completely forthcoming all the time.....

So I think you just have to take what he says with grain or two of salt.....


Absolutely!

The biggest example (and someone, perhaps Boswell, wrote about this one) was the blown 9-0 game. Davey insisted on taking the entire blame himself. (This is also, imho, a refutation of those who say that Davey has an ego problem). He did that to spare the young team the tough questions.

(hello? Storen, Burnett, Clippard, and Gorzelanny *each* pitched terribly! How was that Davey's fault?!)

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Gonat, right you are then he said after Davey said Rendon would play some 2nd base that it would only be a few games for the season.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

"Rendon at 2nd base? Interesting..."

Especially since Skole is on the DL. They have not moved Rendon back to 3rd, even in Skole's absence, according to last night's box score:

http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2013_04_09_nbraax_haraax_1&t=g_box&did=milb

Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa said...

"Now if people want to fret that Zim has lost it and will hit .217 with no home runs for the year, that's their right, but I think we all know he's going to become the Zim we know and love soon enough, and when he does, look out!"

I think it was Will Clark, a long time ago, who said "At the end of the season, the .300 hitters will be hitting .300, and the .250 hitters will be hitting .250."

sjm308 said...

I have to stop looking at the Syracuse box scores because their offense is just mind boggling. I realize that AA is where the young stars are but our team in AAA is just pounding the ball!! I know, I know, its just 6 games and its the minor leagues but it sure is better than what has been in our system before. Playing LF for the Buffalo Bison last night was old friend Ryan Langerhans and at 3b was Adam LaRoche's brother Andy. Some guys just never give it up.

Go Nats!!

Section 222 said...

sjm, just remember who the pitchers in AAA are.

sjm308 said...

Agreed 222 but my point is that we are just so much better throughout our entire system than we were just 4 years ago.

Joe Seamhead said...

For everybody still questioning Johnson's decision to let Strasburg hit for himself the other day, may I remind you that Stephen is a good hitter that won the Silver Slugger award as the best hitting pitcher in the NL last year. 20/20 hindsight is still shortsighted in baseball sometimes.

NatsNutty said...

Those 8-7 "nail-biting" wins are still fun to watch (it's always more fun when the Nats win!), but I'm still concerned about Haren and Soriano. Yeah, I know "it's early in the season," but I worried about them in Spring Training, and heard, "don't worry so much, Spring Training doesn't count." Now, it counts.

UnkyD said...

Regarding Davey's decisions; This time of year, as much as he'd like to get off on a 20-0 run, these decisions are at least as much about getting people set for the long haul, as about April. As knowledgeable as many here are (no facaectiousness intended), I'll bet Davey has 10 times more factors being considered, at any given moment as we can guess at... To paraphrase Will Clark (I love that, BTW!) "At the end of the year the 95+ win Managers will be the 95+ win Managers"....

NatsNutty said...

Hey UnkyD. Not too sure you can make the "95+ win Managers" correlation that easily. "Poor" Charlie Manuel coached a Fillies team to 102 wins in 2011 only to see them flop a year later to 81 wins in 2012. Can this happen to Davey? To me, in baseball, ANYTHING can happen from one year to the next.

Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa said...

"'don't worry so much, Spring Training doesn't count.' Now, it counts."

How about "Don't worry--be happy!"? None of us, by worrying, can change the outcome of one pitch.

Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa said...

That, and Ron Luciano's "But Earl, it's only a game!"

Jimmy said...

I love the Span trade more and more each day (and I really loved it when it happened). I've got family in MN and got to know him a bit through casually following the Twins because of them. Folks out there loved Span, and he is exactly what Rizzo was looking for. I'd love to know how long he was on our radar. My guess is he's been on Rizzo's mind a few years before this happened.

He's been mired in mediocrity over there in the cities so long, I had a feeling he was due to break out once surrounded by the talent the Nats have to support him.

Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa said...

Don't mind me, I'm giddy from the weather finally breaking. It's beautiful enough outside to make a grown man weep with gratitude.

sjm308 said...

We had this "worry" conversation some time ago and as an old retired coach I think I made some people chuckle with several quotes. I learned a long time ago not to worry about pretty much everything. You either solve it or you move on. One of my favorites that I think others liked was "worry is a misuse of imagination" - If it needs fixed Davey will try and fix it, if it doesn't, he will leave it alone. No worries, be happy.

Sofa: - Hiked the Shenandoah's the last two days and biked around here for 15 miles today. What could be better!!

Go Nats!!

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