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Gio delivers in Nats’ win vs. Marlins

Aug 30, 2013, 10:34 AM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

Looking to pull a longman out of his bullpen to make a start on Sunday, Davey Johnson needed Gio Gonzalez to pitch deep into Thursday’s game against the Marlins.

A rain delay the night before forced Johnson to use five different relief pitchers, and the previous night he needed four out of the bullpen to patch together a win. If a starter was going to go the distance and save the rest of the staff, this was the night.

Johnson got his wish as Gonzalez pushed through a sluggish start to last seven scoreless innings and take home the win. He battled a high pitch count early to deliver just what his manager had ordered.

“I tell ya, when that game started, the way Gio was going the first couple innings again, I was thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, if I can get five out of him,’” Johnson said.

“But he ended up pitching a great ballgame. He was outstanding. Just when we needed it.”

“If you were to tell me I was going seven, I would have laughed in your face in the second inning,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez threw 43 pitches through the first two innings, but settled down after an 11-pitch third. He went into the clubhouse to change his shirt in the bottom of the second, as it was soaked from the humidity. In there and waiting for him was closer Rafael Soriano who had some veteran advice.

“I had Soriano standing right there at the entrance,” Gonzalez said. “It was more like a mechanical change, mechanical talk.”

“He was telling me ‘stay back, your arm is dropping way too low and you’re trying to rush.’ That meant a lot, especially when he’s out there watching me.”

After the pep talk Gonzalez retired 15 of the next 16 batters he faced, the lone baserunner Jake Marisnick with a fourth inning single. Gio finished with eight strikeouts, three walks and just three hits allowed.

As Gonzalez settled in, his teammates followed suit. Bryce Harper smacked a two-run homer in the fourth to create some breathing room and by then Gonzalez had found his groove.

“Then those two runs came in the fourth and after that it was the Nats that I remember,” he said. “It’s nice when they score you nine, it takes a lot of weight off your shoulders.”

9-0 was the final score as Gonzalez earned his first victory since July 10. The Nationals have now won 14 of their last 19, but with little help from Gio, at least up until this point.

Gonzalez had struggled over his previous five outings with a 7.66 ERA through 24 2/3 innings. This time he was effective and helped his team out just when they needed it.

“That was big,” Johnson said. “He’s been struggling but he hasn’t brought it back together. Tonight he was outstanding. We were very short and I was hoping for a laugher and we got one.”


  1. Feel Wood - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Re Soriano: Those who can’t do, teach.

  2. alexva6 - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    at first I thought Soriano was there to help him untuck

    good story

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Good quotes. Win easy, win ugly, just win.

    Nats go up again Gee, Wheeler and Niese. No Marlon Byrd to worry about.

    I’m still surprised Davey went last night to Roark for 2 innings with a 9 run lead. Abad and Mattheus should’ve shut the door last night.

    • Feel Wood - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      If Roark is going to start Sunday, then yesterday or today would be his throw day. So have him pitch a couple of easy innings to close out a laugher and keep the rest of the bullpen rested for the Mets series. Smart move.

      • Section 222 - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:37 AM

        I’m pretty sure Davey said yesterday he’s going to start Ohlie on Sunday because Roark might be needed in relief last night. As he was. And it would be pretty unusual to have him go two innings on his throw day and bring him back to start on only more days rest. But I agree it was a smart (or least an understandable) move.

    • Section 222 - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM

      Clearly Davey wanted someone to close out the game in order to rest everyone else. Maybe Abad could have done it, but Mattheus worked yesterday. JZnn is less likely to need Roark in long relief than Haren, so Davey probably thought it better to use him last night and have him available for either Saturday or Sunday.

  4. Section 222 - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Yeah, get rid of Soriano. He stinks, never pitches a clean inning, worst closer in MLB, is surly, arrogant, insulted Bryce Harper, a terrible teammate and does that stupid untuck thing. Worst move Rizzo ever made. Bring back Drew!

    • bowdenball - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      Be careful not to hurt yourself building that straw man, 222.

      • adcwonk - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:59 AM

        I wish it were only a straw man. Every one of those comments 222 said came from various expert commenters here.

      • Section 222 - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        Not a strawman at all bb. Each of those criticisms has been offered, vehemently and at length, in comments here. Certainly, criticism of his performance has been warranted, but the personal attacks on his character have not, as demonstrated quite forcefully in this post.

      • bowdenball - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:56 PM

        I doubt anyone wanted to get rid of him except in a trade, which sort of changes the meaning. If they did they’re not too sharp. Same goes for anyone who said he’s the worst closer in MLB- he’s below average, but jeez, Tom Wilhemsen for Christ’s sake. That guy makes Soriano look like Craig Kimbrel.

    • NatsLady - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:54 PM

      Well, not from me (expert or not). Here are the moves Rizzo made

      (1) Dan Haren – terrible for the first half. Very good after his phantom DL stint. I could see the Nats making him a QO, I could see him accepting. That would be OK with me. I think he learned a lot about what his body and mind needs to prepare for the season now that his stuff ain’t what it used to be. Going to be midnight tomorrow night (after his start) to see if he stays for September.

      (2) Span – another slow strart, but hitting .290 since the All-Star Break, perfect defense, says and does all the right things. Could maybe steal a few more bases but that’s a minor quibble.

      (3) Soriano – expensive addition to what was supposed to be already a strong bullpen. Turned out he is slightly above average as a “closer”. Also turns out the strong bullpen wasn’t. The Soriano move was made assuming we would be contenders. He will be here next season, as will Span. Not giving up on either.

      (4) LaRoche/Morse – both have lost it on offense. ALR better on D (of course), though he slipped mid-season. Given RZ’s throwing, probably the right choice. My feeling is that ALR has not been healthy all year, and is playing through who-knows-what.

      Jayson Werth is clearly the MVP of this season, and if we get the WC, he will give McCutchen a run for his money.

      • Section 222 - Aug 30, 2013 at 1:34 PM

        Excellent summary NL. I would quibble a bit on Haren — that 0-11 record in games he started from May 14-July 22 was really a killer to our season. He had an ERA of 6.18 in those games. We were 21-17 and only a game behind ATL before that stretch, and 48-51 and 8 games out after it. Just think where we’d be if we could have gone even 5-6 in those games.

        Remember also, he had a good end of the season last year for the Angels after coming back from an injury, which is why Rizzo thought he would be a good 5th starter for us. I don’t expect he’ll get a qualifying offer or be back next year, nor should he. I hope we can do better.

  5. NatsLady - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Interesting, though technical, article on player contracts. Cubs, Nats and Yanks attempting to ensure player “good behavior.”

    MLB contracts–132156423.html

    • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:41 AM


      I was just about to reference this myself — but without the link because I’m clueless on how to do that.

      Quite interesting that the Nats are one of the three big users of these clauses that could turn guaranteed contracts into non-guaranteed contracts.

      • Chazz - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        but without the link because I’m clueless on how to do that.

        Just cut and paste it into the comments, preferably on a line by itself. You no longer need to do the HTML stuff to make it live, WordPress does that for you.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        HOWEVER … you can find that and other How-Tos on the new and improved NIDO+, now a live blog.

      • natsfan1a - Aug 30, 2013 at 1:13 PM


      • natsfan1a - Aug 30, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        +1 for the new interface.

      • McR-rich - Aug 30, 2013 at 2:06 PM

        Is there a way for ArVa’s Umpire Q&A to be compiled on the now NIDO+ spreadsheet? Those were really good reads, and would be fun to reference later.

        Unsure on the [Reply] buttons, hope this is in the right spot.

      • adcwonk - Aug 30, 2013 at 2:15 PM

        Sofa — nice NIDO+ blog!

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:33 PM

        McR-rich, that’s an excellent idea IMO. NatsFanArVa, it’s your info, how do you feel about it? It might be easier to follow as a blog post than in the spreadsheet, but it could be both. I’d just cut and paste it, unless you want to edit it yourself, in which case the spreadsheet is readily available, and we can get it off that for the NIDO+.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        When I put the NIDO+ together a few days ago, I initially considered making the How-To a page of its own, but since I was throwing this thing together and had about half an hour to spend, that looked like too much work to me. Rule #1: The Sofa is lazy.

  6. Feel Wood - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Saw a rack of “Last Out Shirt Out” t shirts for sale in the team store last night. Bet we never see anyone actually wearing one, though, unless someone gives one to that panhandler who’s out at lot W every night.

  7. Muddy Ruel - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    A few weeks ago I said that Rizzo and company looked weak in firing Eckstein since the Nats still weren’t hitting. Well, they’re hiting a lot better now. I don’t know why but Schu must get some credit. No offense to Rick who I believe will be a fine coach somewhere. Anyhow, anybody know were I can find a plump Crow for dinner?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      I think we’re going to need to upgrade to emu, Muddy. One crow won’t be enough to go around.

      • natsfan1a - Aug 30, 2013 at 1:12 PM

        I’ve found that it tastes pretty good if you splash some Tabasco on there.

    • NatsLady - Aug 30, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      I don’t know how much of that is Schu, and how much is simply the guys being healthier–and Span hitting. It IS contagious, Last year the offense got hot and suddenly, as Davey said, “Eckstein is a genius.” Bottom line, I don’t think Schu is hurting anything and maybe he is helping a little.

      • Sonny G 10 - Aug 30, 2013 at 2:15 PM

        I’m in the same boat with you NatsLady as to the hitting coaches. I did like the comment, I think it was FP that made it, that Schu stands behind the batting cage and watches the hitters. He will then pull them aside after they hit and give some corrections, if needed. Also, Span gives Schu a lot of credit for his resurgance.





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