Quick Links

Gonzalez turns in uneven outing, drops third straight


Gonzalez turns in uneven outing, drops third straight

It was only a few weeks ago that it seemed as though Gio Gonzalez had turned a corner. The lefty starter was perhaps the most consistent member in the Nationals' rotation, quietly stringing together quality starts over a month-and-a-half stretch. From June 21 to August 11, he sported a 5-0 record with a 1.48 ERA and 1.21 WHIP.

But much like the rest of the staff in the season's second half, the title of "most reliable starter" has been tough to lock down.

Gonzalez' uneven outing in Wednesday night vs. the Padres was his third straight loss, allowing five runs (four earned) in just 4 2/3 innings. It was the second time in his last three starts that he's been unable to get through the fifth.

So did he show anything that was indicative of his recent struggles?

"Not tonight," manager Matt Williams said. "He worked through the first inning and had a little trouble. He couldn’t get through the next time around with those guys in the middle of the order."

Indeed, the Padres' big boppers gave Gonzalez trouble in the third inning. After Yunel Escobar's botched double play attempt that kept the inning alive, Matt Kemp hit a two-run double to right center field and Justin Upton launched a two-run home run to left center to put the Nats down 4-0 and in chase mode the rest of the game.

"The double was a good pitch and the ball was hit to right field," Gonzalez said of the Padres' rally. "So I think the [pitch] was down and away where I wanted it to be. Good hitter. Tip your cap."

And much like Williams, Gonzalez didn't seem to view his night as the continuation of a concerning trend.

"Nothing [troubled me out there]," he said. "Not really anything. I was pounding the strike zone. I was getting ahead of the hitters. Maybe walked two guys. Other than that, typical start."

That may be, but the Padres had the first batter reach base in four of the five innings Gonzalez worked, making him working from the stretch before he could establish a rhythm. That's not a new problem, either. This season, leadoff men are hitting .326 against him -- highest among Nats pitchers with at least 15 starts.

"It’s traffic for the pitcher out of the stretch," Williams said. "The rhythm is certainly different. We talk about it with regard to our offense all the time. It just makes it more difficult. It puts pressure on."

Pressure might be the right word to use for an up-and-down rotation that was expected to be the game's best before the season started. Since the All-Star break, Nats starters are 12-17 with an ordinary 4.28 ERA -- 14th best in the majors. Meanwhile, the surging Mets own the fourth-best ERA since the break at 3.30.

Gonzalez may have had an off night, as he and Williams suggested. But given the widening gap between the two clubs in the NL East race, every hiccup becomes increasingly costly each night one occurs.

Quick Links

Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

USA Today Sports

Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

Watching Max Scherzrer rack up Ks during a game is a usual sight for fans.

Dancing is not.

On Wednesday while the Sports Junkies were broadcasting at Nats Spring Training in West Palm Beach, we got a taste of what the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner has to offer on the dance floor. 

With just about a week left until their season kicks off, manager Dave Martinez hired a DJ for the day's workout, saying he wanted to "turn it up a notch." 

Well he turned it up a few too many notches, causing the back end of the complex where the Junkies were broadcasting to lose power.

While the Junkies were put in a pickle because of said DJ, we were able to get a glance of Scherzer dancing to Drakes' "God's Plan."


It's nice to see the usually lazer-focused pitcher let loose.

While Scherzer's dance moves didn't actually cause the Junkies to lose power, it's nice to think they were too much for the ballpark to handle. 

106.7 The Fans Sports Junkies simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 am ET. You can stream the Sports Junkies right here

Quick Links

The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.