Now, let’s discuss the actual game which was played at Nationals Park today.
Gio Gonzalez went six innings, allowing just one run on three hits in the Nationals’ 4-1 win over the Rockies.
“Gio pitched an outstanding game,” manager Davey Johnson said. “He was going to fight me again after throwing 100 pitches in a tie ballgame, he didn’t want to leave the game tied. I said, ‘You’re done. You’re not talking me out of nothing and we’ll get you a win right here.’ Thank goodness we got him a win.
“But he pitched great. He had a really high pitch count early and then kind of cruised from the third through the sixth. Really, he used his changeup more 3-6 and really his curveball was outstanding today. Used all his weapons. I don’t know what the temperature on the field was, but it was warm.”
It was 101 degrees at first pitch, and was around 110 degrees with the heat index. Still, Gonzalez battled through the conditions.
“It was hot,” Gonzalez said. “You have to learn how to stay in the cool a little bit every once in a while. I was telling the ump a little bit, put an ammonia towel over your head in between innings. Other than that, I tried to mentally break through that, didn’t want to think about the heat. I was just trying to get out there and give the team a chance to put up some runs.”
Stephen Strasburg got an IV prior to yesterday’s start, in order to prepare for the high temperatures. Did Gonzalez do the same today?
“I didn’t get an IV, absolutely not. I think it would be an insult to our Latin heritage down in Miami,” Gonzalez said with a laugh. “If I told them (I got one), they would be pretty mad, so definitely not.”
Gonzalez now has 12 wins on the season, tied for most in the majors with the Mets’ R.A. Dickey. The lefty is also now tied with Livan Hernandez for the Nationals record for most wins before the All-Star break. Hernandez got to 12 wins in 19 starts, Gonzalez got there in 17.
“I mean, he’s been very consistent,” Johnson said. “He’s been fun to watch. My whole staff’s been fun to watch. But these last two times out, in the heat, he’s pitched well. Against very good offensive clubs.”
Rockies starter Jeff Francis held the Nationals in check last Monday in Colorado, allowing just one run over seven innings in a Rockies win.
Francis kept the Nats to just one run on four hits over the first five innings today, but he allowed two straight hits leading off the sixth before being pulled. The Nats were able to tack on three runs in the sixth and benefited from four Rockies errors on the afternoon.
“That guy (Francis) gave us the same problems in Colorado,” Johnson said. “He pitches exactly opposite of anybody. He throws his fastball when he’s ahead in the count, all that - changeup, slow hook when he’s behind. I thought we adjusted better, I thought we had better at-bats against him than we did out there. I was pleased with the patience we had.
“They made some errors but it’s usually because you force them by your play and a couple of those errors, I mean, the swinging bunt by (Jesus Flores), the bunt by (Steve Lombardozzi), they were going to be bang-bang. I don’t even think, I mean if he barehanded the ball from (Flores) he might still not get him. He was playing awful deep. Errant pickoff, those help, but we had the right guys up at the right time. I felt like we were going to score some runs that inning anyway.”