Phillies Opposition Roadblock: Washington Nationals
The Pitcher: Gio Gonzalez
It is amazing how over the course of two months of baseball, a team can see the same group of arms as many times as the Nationals and Phillies have seen one another. Major League Baseball scheduling committee…this is embarrassing. Anyhow, the Phillies are seeing Tanner Roark for the third time and Gio Gonzalez for the second this weekend.
As of now, the Nationals have not announced Sunday’s starter.
Today’s focus will be on Saturday’s starter, Gio Gonzalez. The former Phillies prospect has had good fortune against the team that traded him to Chicago back in 2006 for Freddy Garcia. In 21 starts (132 innings) against his old organization, he has posted a 10-6 record with a 2.66 ERA and 122 strikeouts. While most of the current Phillies have faced Gonzalez, only three players have had more than 20 at-bats against him.
Howie Kendrick has five hits in 23 at bats, Freddy Galvis is 10-28 with two homers against him, and Cesar Hernandez is 7-25 when facing Gonzalez.
Back on April 16th of this season, the lefty went 7.1 innings, allowing five hits and three runs (only two of them earned), walking three and striking out two. He would not earn a decision that night.
While most of his starts this season have been solid and he has gone at least six in seven of his eight, his last start was not spectacular. A very good Baltimore offense lit up the nine-year veteran to the tune of seven hits and six earned runs over six innings of work. He allowed three homers and walked four O’s.
The Phillies are going to want to make him work. Gonzalez is known to lose his control and struggle in games. He is known to use all four of his pitches and does not favor one a ton more than the rest.
He lives off his fastball for the most part, but mixes in a curveball, change, and a two-seamer in a pretty balanced manner. He has used his four-seam 285 times this season, but the other three come in at 167, 138, and 131 times respectively.
Next: Five Phillies prospects on BA's updated Top 100
Saturday night’s game will be important to the Phillies whether or not they are able to start with a win tonight. And this southpaw has found ways to pose trouble for the Phils.