Gio Rebounds Despite Nats Loss To Mets • Latino Sports

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Gio Rebounds Despite Nats Loss To Mets

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Flushing, NY:  Friday afternoon Gio Gonzalez was scheduled to be honored at a luncheon as recipient of the 2017 Latino Sports National League MVP Pitcher. The Washington Nationals Left-Hander had his scheduled start in the rotation changed and the Nationals have a policy of focus and be at the ballpark early.

So the award will be presented at another time and possibly at a Nationals home game before the end of the season.  This distinguished honor also exemplifies outstanding representation of the Latino community and Gio Gonzalez is assisting those  in Washington D.C. with charities and is an advocate of baseball for youth.

A new and spacious baseball-education facility is near completion and in business, not far from his hometown in Hialeah Florida. The facility is also a part of his charitable efforts to better youth in the community and use the game of baseball as a foundation.

There was disappointment with those at Latino Sports and various supporters. The MVP events have been a success over the years and Major League Baseball is a proud supporter, however, business is business and Gonzalez had work to do at Citi Field Friday night.

Gonzalez, in a walk-off year with the Nationals, has seen his struggles this season and the team has started to plan for next year with their postseason hopes diminishing as the calendar turns to September in a week.

Citi Field, though, has been a successful ballpark for Gonzalez. And there has been success against the New York Mets, 7-10 record and 4.51 ERA, entering his start and 15-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 25 career starts vs. the Mets. That 11-1 mark with a 1.78 ERA in 16 career starts at Citi Field was nothing to be ashamed of.

“It’s a beautiful, family-oriented ballpark,” Gonzalez said after the Nationals 3-0 loss. “I just have this kind of feel for pitching here.”

In a walk-off year, and with the Nationals not likely to offer a lucrative free-agent deal, Gio Gonzalez may have been hinting about making Citi Field his new home next year.  But that wasn’t the emphasis of his postgame meeting with the media in the visitors clubhouse at Citi Field.

This was about Gio Gonzalez having a rebound start, one that could be a momentum builder in his final starts of the season. The record showed another loss, and it was not his doing as the Nationals offense once again failed to hit off Mets starter Jason Vargas who won his second straight outing on six innings and three hits.

Gio Gonzalez the Latino Sports 2017 MVP Pitcher and the Nationals have had a disappointing season, Credit: Latino Sports

Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman finished it up for the Mets as the Nationals would get one more hit.

Monday night vs. the Marlins, Gonzalez had another disappointing start. The velocity on the fastball was there, the location not where it should be. The Marlins lineup attacked the curve and after 3.1 innings, 10-hits, 8-runs and 81 pitches, manager Dave Martinez went to his bullpen.

Friday night, a different tone from the beginning. Gonzalez was in command though the pitch count was high at 48 pitches after two innings.

He managed to get ahead of the hitters and allowed one run in seven innings. This was the outing that Gio Gonzalez needed to turn things around. Pitching at Citi Field has been the good luck charm and the record speaks for itself even though this went down as a loss.

“It was one of those games,” Gonzalez said. “I’m happy to turn things around but I wish I could have been better.”

The ERA was lowered at Citi Field to 1.75, and in the sixth inning there was a concern as a line drive caught his left ankle. He would stay in the game.

“It’s a little tender,” he said. “I was just thinking ‘Gotta finish this inning.Gotta finish this inning.’”  I believe I can pitch and pitch against the best.. I know I can pitch better than I have been.”

Said Martinez, “Very proud of him. Kept us in the game. That’s all you can ask.”  Gonzalez allowed no walks and that was also a good sign that gave cause for this start being a confidence builder.

And the disappointing season for the Nationals is also attributed to a starting rotation with a share of injuries and eighth in league ERA as a pitching staff.

“Building  confidence and being aggressive in the strike zone,” Gonzalez said. “ Being behind guys and knowing I can go out there and  still pound the strike zone. I’m just grateful I can pitch another day in the big leagues. Good move forward at end of the day, I still have to build on this. I want to pitch better, get better, and show I can still pitch up here.”

Citi Field it was Friday night and that builder of confidence was seen on the mound. And soon Gio Gonzalez will have his day as that recipient of a prestigious award that is well deserved.

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About Rich Mancuso

Established sports journalist and educator. Contact Rich at [email protected]

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