Game #46 Gio Gonzalez wants to follow the lead of Strasburg, Joe Ross & Tanner Roark!

Photo by Sam Frost for TalkNats

Was there some symbolism of George Washington carrying a flag near the Potomac in a game played by the only MLB team from the state of Washington and the team in the nation’s capital Washington, D.C.? The letters behind him were obstructed by his large head only revealing “A SON” for the man known as the “Father of his country” which was a title bestowed on George Washington in recognition of his military leadership in the Revolutionary War and his service as first president of the United States of America. George Washington was the son of Augustine Washington and Mary Ball Washington. Did you know George Washington had 9 brothers and sisters, enough to field a baseball team that he could coach.

The east coast weather is not good for those wanting to have outdoor activities today, and the NY Yankees have already cancelled their game for today. The Nationals appear to have made a smart move in changing their game time from a 4:05 start time to 12:05 pm as the hourly weather chart shows they have a nice 3 hour window before thunder boomers move into the area.

Today’s scheduled starters are a match-up of lefties with Cuban roots. The Mariners pitcher, Ariel Miranda, defected from Cuba, and Gio Gonzalez’s mother was from Cuba and his father is also of Cuban heritage. Miranda is coming off of a one-run performance against the White Sox and like both Bergman and Gaviglio before him, they all have been looking to solidify themselves in this Seattle rotation.

The only Washington Nationals’ player who has faced Miranda is Adam Lind who is 1-2 against him. The Nationals hope to continue to take advantage of these inexperienced pitchers as Anthony Rendon has done the last 2 nights as he padded his stats with 3 home runs, 8 RBIs, and 4-8 statline. Rendon, in fact, is now on a 112 RBI pace. 

Every Nats’ regular starter is hitting at .275 or over except Trea Turner who has shown recently that he is making better contact even though BABIP has not been on his side, and also the official scorer who did not reward Turner on a grounder he beat out after the Mariners’ shortstop hurried his throw and threw it high. The one area Turner continues to struggle is with reverse splits as he is hitting lefty starters at only a .176 mark continuing the trend from last year.

We’ve also recently seen where pitchers are back to nibbling on the outside edges or intentionally walking Bryce Harper with first base open as they take their chances with Ryan Zimmerman. While Zim is getting his singles, he is only 6-23 when there are 2-outs in a RISP situation like yesterday. Zimmerman did get a sacrifice fly from an 0-2 count yesterday, but he has to start making teams pay when they walk Harper in front of him. Zim’s last home run was on May 6th and his groundball rate has increased 22% with an unattainable .385 BA on groundballs this season. On Tuesday alone, Zim had 3 groundball singles through the infield.

Last night, Matt Wieters extended his hitting streak to 11 games in his final at-bat last night. What was also impressive was that the Nationals only struck out twice in yesterday’s game, and Michael Taylor has now gone 2 games in a row without a strikeout after a tough stretch were he had K’d 11 times in the 6 games before that. It’s also the first time this season in back-to-back starts that Taylor has not struck out and that is an accomplishment because he has not done that since June 20th last year. The difference is Taylor is putting balls in play earlier in the count instead of getting into a poor hitter’s two-strike count. Taylor’s bunt single last night was his only hit of the game, but it was a thing of beauty.

There was a lot of good news from yesterday’s game like Roark’s bounceback excellent performance, and also the rested bullpen put up zeros again for the 3rd game in a row. After the game, Dusty Baker spoke to the back of the bullpen and defining roles.

“Koda [Glover] was kind of lobbying for that in the first place,” Dusty Baker said in naming Glover as his closer last night. “We wanted to break him in slowly because this guy’s, shoot, he’s only a year-and-a-half out of college. So he had said that’s the job he wanted, and so it’s his now.”

Interestingly enough, Baker had not informed Glover that he is Dusty’s closer so he will probably learn of this from the media. Baker says he wants Glover to keep his “edge”.

In other news, Chris Heisey was placed on the DL and can be moved to the 60-day DL if needed for a roster move as he ruptured his biceps and admitted after the game that his shoulder had been hurting all season. Heisey also said that he has experienced bicep discomfort before. It might explain his lack of power this season and not completing his swings as Heisey was batting just .128 this season. Heisey insists this won’t be a season-ending injury.

Rafael Bautista who spent time with the Nationals earlier this season is dealing with some hamstring issues, and Mike Rizzo will be searching for some depth for a right-handed outfielder with the loss of Chris Heisey.

Jose Marmolejos is still on the 60-day DL technically while on a rehab assignment with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, and he is mashing in his 11 games this season including a grand slam on Monday and another home run last night. The Nationals will most likely add Marmolejos back to the 40-man roster as they can move Adam Eaton to the 60-day DL without deciding to move Heisey to the 60-day DL.

Dusty Baker will be flying to his home in northern California after the game to attend his son Darren’s high school graduation. Baker will hand the managerial reins over to Chris Speier for the weekend series against the Padres.

Seattle Mariners at Washington Nationals 
Stadium: Nationals Park, South Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC
1st Pitch:  12:05 pm EDT
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM®  XM 186 Sirius 132 (Internet 869)

Line-ups  (subject to change without notice):

  1. Trea Turner SS
  2. Jayson Werth LF
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Ryan Zimmerman 1B
  5. Daniel Murphy 2B
  6. Anthony Rendon 3B
  7. Michael Taylor CF
  8. Jose Lobaton C
  9. Gio Gonzalez LHP
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