CHICAGO - If you look at Gio Gonzalez’s stat line from tonight and think that he left Wrigley Field disappointed with his performance, you’d be wrong.
The Nationals starter actually says he was perfectly fine with his 3 2/3 innings, in which he allowed four runs on seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
“It was exactly what I wanted,” Gonzalez said. “I was in the strike zone. I felt like I was in the strike zone. I felt like I was getting contact, making the guys swing the bat. I was working the way I wanted to work.
“If I could go back, I wouldn’t change a thing that I did today.”
Making his Nationals debut, Gonzalez felt his stuff was exactly where he wanted it to be. He thought his location was solid. The lefty says he just got hit around a bit.
“It felt like my fastball felt good. My curveball felt good. Even my changeup,” Gonzalez said. “It’s just some things you can’t explain. ... I felt like I was attacking guys and they were swinging. It’s the way baseball is. One day you’ll have it. The other, you won’t.”
Like Gonzalez, manager Davey Johnson said he thought the hurler was bringing quality pitches today. But things began to unravel for Gonzalez a bit in the fourth inning, when he gave up four hits and a walk, allowing the Cubs to score three runs.
“I thought he was around the plate,” Johnson said. “He wasn’t getting a lot of close calls. And then they started hitting some pitches and finding some holes, and what’d they have, four, five hits that one inning. Sometimes when momentum changes like that against a pitcher, it’s time to get him out.”
Gonzalez did bring his bat today, ripping a sharp line drive to center in the third inning which Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd had to sprint back and lunge for in order to bring in. But he didn’t deliver a consistent performance on the mound, and had to lean on Craig Stammen, Ryan Mattheus and the rest of the Nats’ relievers for help.
“If it wasn’t for the bullpen, it would’ve been an ugly day,” Gonzalez said. “These guys did a great job and made it look very good.”
Update: Single-A Potomac third baseman Anthony Rendon, the Nats’ No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, has left tonight’s game after turning his ankle while rounding third base.
Rendon’s status is not known at this time. I’ll pass along more information as it becomes available.