Posted September 09, 2012 on
AP on Fox
After the MLB-leading Washington Nationals shut down their 24-year-old phenom over the weekend, Gio Gonzalez seems more than capable of playing the role of ace down the stretch.
Gonzalez tries to extend his 16-inning scoreless streak and become the majors' first 19-game winner Monday night as the Nationals open a three-game set against the New York Mets, who've lost nine of 10 in this series at home.
After monitoring Stephen Strasburg's workload, Washington (86-54) created a stir Saturday by shutting him down a bit earlier than expected. He was originally scheduled to make his final appearance of the season Wednesday against New York (65-75).
While not having to face Strasburg surely comes as a pleasant surprise to the Mets, they can't be looking forward to a matchup with Gonzalez (18-7, 2.98 ERA).
The left-hander has been at the top of his game of late, going 5-1 with a 1.87 ERA over his last six starts. After throwing his first career shutout in a 10-0 win over St. Louis on Aug. 31, Gonzalez allowed three hits and struck out nine over seven scoreless innings Wednesday during a 9-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
"I think the way these guys performed tonight, the way they always performed every night, every start that I go out there, it feels like they give me their best in Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers," Gonzalez told the Nationals' official website.
Tied with New York's R.A. Dickey for the most wins in baseball and leading the majors with a .208 opponent batting average, Gonzalez continues to be mentioned in the NL Cy Young conversation.
"I want to continue to win for this team, continue to stay healthy and strong, keep battling and get some more wins for them," he added. "We are playing such great baseball. I think it's selfish of me to think (about) myself."
Gonzalez has typically given the Mets fits, with one exception. He was tagged for a season-worst six runs in 3 1-3 innings during a 9-5 loss July 19, but has posted a 0.92 ERA in his other three starts against New York, winning the last two.
The Nationals could use another gem from Gonzalez after yielding a combined 23 runs while dropping two of three to Miami over the weekend. Edwin Jackson was hit hard in Sunday's 8-0 defeat.
A visit to New York, though, could be just what Washington needs to regroup. The Nationals have taken 11 of the last 14 in this series overall, outscoring the Mets 28-8 during a five-game road winning streak.
New York's recent home woes haven't just come against the Nationals. The Mets have been outscored 121-53 while dropping 19 of 23 at Citi Field, where they were swept by Atlanta over the weekend.
"We're running out of ideas," manager Terry Collins said after Sunday's 3-2, 10-inning defeat. "It's about grinding it out right now. It's about going out there and having some confidence in your ability."
The Mets try to get back on track behind rookie Collin McHugh (0-1, 3.27). The right-hander struck out nine over seven scoreless innings during his big league debut in a 1-0 loss to Colorado on Aug. 23, but wasn't nearly as sharp last Monday at St. Louis.
He allowed four runs and six hits over four innings of a 5-4 loss.
"I didn't have very good command," he told the Mets' official website. "I've got to be smarter, it's as simple as that. I put us in a pretty deep hole early on. Hats off to the guys for scraping, but I've got to do better than that."
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Last year it was the smurfs. This year: Olympians. Gymnasts at that. Holy F.
Up above, the video (via MLB.com) of Jayson Werth's game-tying home run in the 9th inning on Saturday following that (at times, Biblical) 2 1/2 hour rain delay.
How did Werth deal with the delay? As the saying goes, when life gives you chicken sh-t, make chicken salad:
"I had a little massage, change of clothes. Had a chicken salad. And then tied it up. It was well...
Below, video (via CSNWashington.com) of Stephen Strasburg discussing the shutdown.
Feel awful for him, really. There's a full transcription of Strasburg's comments in the Washington Times. There's this quote:
"I don't know if I'm ever going to accept it, to be honest with you. It's something that I'm not happy about at all. That's...
Nationals management has said all year that Stephen Strasburg wouldn't be pitching to the end of the season. But few expected him to be shut down so quickly. Washington manager Davey Johnson told Strasburg on Saturday morning that he wouldn't be pitching any more games, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. Davey Johnson informed Stephen Strasburg this morning his...
There are obviously many factors that led to the Nationals having the best record in baseball thus far in 2012. There’s the legendary manager coming back to a remarkably young and talented team for one last stop on a stellar train ride of a career. There’s the phenom draftees that were the result of many years of suffering in Nats town, and there is the other home grown...
KEEP IT TO YOURSELF
Ozzie Guillen offered his opinion on the controversial Stephen Strasburg shutdown in Washington, and as expected he used plenty of expletives to make his point.
So today is the day.
After 28 starts, 159 1/3 innings pitched, the Washington Nationals have officially shut down Stephen Strasburg one start early.
"He's had a great year. I know what he's going through
for the past couple weeks. The media hype on this thing has been
unbelievable. I feel it's hard for him -- as it would be [for] anybody...
By shutting down Stephen Strasburg after 159 1/3 innings, the Washington Nationals are clearly aiming to protect their investment. With the cautious approach comes repercussions, though, and the decision could ultimately be counterproductive. Not only are the Nats going to be without their ace as they head down the stretch and into the postseason, a scenario Washington fans aren...
After being shelled last night by the Miami Marlins in a 9-7 loss at Nationals Park, Washington flamethrower Stephen Strasburg admitted he’s “not too happy” with the organization’s asinine decision to immediately shelve him for the season. Strasburg (15-6, 3.16 … Continue reading →
Pinch hitter Corey Brown's single drove in Ian Desmond with the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning Saturday, lifting the Washington Nationals to a 7-6 victory over the Miami Marlins.
After Adam LaRoche singled off Chad Guadin (3-2) to open the inning, Desmond singled him to third and Danny Espinosa was intentionally walked to load the bases. With the infield in, Kurt...
The Stephen Strasburg shutdown plan looks more and more real every day. Scott Boras has no problem with that, but he's also quick to point out that he's not behind it. The biggest agent in the game -- who represents the Nationals pitcher -- is totally fine with the club's decision to shut Strasburg down after his Sept. 12 start. "Before players are under contract...
Dear Mike Rizzo,
I am so disgusted with the handling of Operation Shutdown. As a baseball fan, Stephen Strasburg is one of the great reasons to watch the game. His overpowering fastball, devastating slider, change-up, and wicked curveball make him a marvel to witness. The Nationals will not win the World Series without their ace right-hander.
You have done an excellent job constructing...