Washington Nationals left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez was named National League Pitcher of the Month, while outfielder Bryce Harper was named National League Rookie of the Month, for the month of May. Major League Baseball made the announcements this afternoon.
Gonzalez and Harper’s monthly citations are the second and third earned by the Nationals this season. Right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg was named National League Pitcher of the Month in April after going 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 32.0 innings during the season’s opening month. Before 2012, the only National to earn an NL Player of the Month citation was Chad Cordero (15 saves) in June of 2005.
Gonzalez finished a perfect 5-0 in five May starts, posting a 2.25 ERA and striking out 45 in 32.0 innings on the month. Gonzalez, who gets the starting nod this afternoon as the Nationals host the Braves, is just the third National (2005-present) to post five wins in as many starts, joining Livan Hernandez (2005) and Ramon Ortiz (2006).
The 26-year-old Gonzalez paced the National League in strikeouts, batting average against (.156) and hits allowed per 9.0 innings (4.8) in May, while ranking among league leaders in wins (tied for first with Cole Hamels), ERA (tied 6th) and fielding-independent pitching (3rd, 2.11).
Harper batted .271 (29-for-107) with five doubles, four triples, four home runs, 10 RBI, 13 walks and 21 runs scored in 28 May contests, during which Washington went 15-13. In May, he led National League rookies in runs scored, triples, extra-base hits (13), OPS (.860) and isolated power (.234).
Harper, 19, earned today’s citation while starting 17 May games in right field, six in center field and five in left field.