Saturday certainly was not what Gio Gonzalez wanted or expected after pitching a one-hitter in his last start against the Mets.
In Saturday’s start against the Phillies, Gonzalez allowed four runs on nine hits in six innings. He did battle through a couple of jams, but a four-run fifth inning helped put the Phillies over the edge.
“Gio just had that one inning where he looked like he just lost his command,” said manager Davey Johnson. “The big thing was the walk to (Chase) Utley. And then getting (Carlos) Ruiz up, he has been awfully hot with the runners in scoring position.”
Gonzalez got two outs in that fifth inning, but the bases were loaded for Ruiz. The Phillies catcher went after the first pitch, a two-seam fastball, and rocketed it over Jayson Werth’s head to score three decisive runs. Suddenly, the Phillies led 4-1.
“I was one pitch away from getting out of the inning,” Gonzalez said. “I think I lost it too much. They were just hitting the ball. Fastball. The one pitch. Fastball away. I just put it right there on the spot. If it hangs in there a little bit longer, J-Dub (Werth) gets an out.”
Gonzalez said a loss like this one - when you see your teammates go out and get right back into the game, only to come up one run short- always hurts for a starting pitcher.
“It is a tough loss right there, especially when these guys battled all the way to the end,” Gonzalez said. “That one run changed the whole game. Just to see these guys battling all the way to the end. There is still life in these guys. It is a tough feeling.”
But since the Nats face a team like the Phillies 19 times a year, Gonzalez sees them a lot. They also see him a lot and begin to memorize his tendencies.
“It is tough facing a lineup you have faced all year,” Gonzalez concluded. “Especially if they know everything you have, from the length of your hair to the laces of your shoes. They know everything. After a while, seeing these guys maybe four or five times, I think they are going to start realizing what I got.”
Ironically, Gonzalez was 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA in three starts against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park this season. The rest of the Nationals starters were 1-6 at Philadelphia this year.
This time, the Phillies were able to turn the tables on Gonzalez in D.C.