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Nationals' Gio Gonzalez turning page on regular season, focused on Dodgers

Nationals' Gio Gonzalez turning page on regular season, focused on Dodgers

WASHINGTON—Gio Gonzalez says that the regular season is over, and the postseason is something new and different. 

Gonzalez had his worst season in his fifth with the Nationals, said he wiped out his 2016 regular season memories a week ago when the regular season ended. 

“This is the playoffs now. That’s over with,” Gonzalez said. 

Gonzalez will start Game 3 of the Nationals Division Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday at Dodger Stadium. 

Normally, Gonzalez would have spoken Sunday at the Nationals’ workout on the off day between Games 2 and 3, but that was wiped out with the postponement of Game 2 on Saturday. 

Gonzalez will fly ahead of the team on Sunday in order to try and be rested. 

“From what I’m hearing, they are going to be getting in a little later than usual. So I guess they just want to give me a little more time to rest,” Gonzalez said. 

Gonzalez was 11-11 with a 4.57 ERA, the only time in his five seasons he didn’t have a winning record, and by far his highest ERA. He started 2016 with a 3-7 record, but did win five consecutive decisions from Aug. 5-Sept. 11. 

“It’s not something I want to sit back and reflect. I want to talk about now, which is October,” Gonzalez said. “It’s playoff time.” 

One of Gonzalez’s better games this season came on July 20 when he allowed one run on three hits in six innings in a Nationals’ 8-1 win over the Dodgers.

Overall he’s been excellent against Los Angeles with a 3-1 record and sparkling 1.69 ERA in five starts.

The current Dodgers are batting just .160 against Gonzalez with just one home run—by Carlos Ruiz, who he often faced with the Phillies—in 144 at-bats. 

“It’s never easy facing that lineup. I would never say, hey, just go out there and pitch. You definitely have to have some common sense to throw to some of these guys. You can’t just groove a fastball right down the middle,” Gonzalez said. 

It will be Gonzalez’s first start since the funeral for Jose Fernandez, a close friend of the Nationals’ left-hander. 

“It’s never easy,” Gonzalez said haltingly. “Still to this day I have a tough time speaking about it…This is my job. I need to focus on trying to help out the Washington Nationals.” 

MORE NATIONALS: MANFRED EXPLAINS DECISION TO POSTPONE NATS-DODGERS

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

On Thursday night, a Washington, D.C. pro sports team did something Washington, D.C. pro sports teams are very good at doing: fall short of making a league or championship game.

The Nationals' disastrous fifth inning against the Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series was the beginning of the end, not to mention yet another in a long line of disappointing playoff results for Washington, D.C. sports teams.

You see, Washington, D.C. is the only city with at least three major pro sports teams to not have a single one make a conference or league championship game since 2000.

To make matters worse, Washington, D.C. sports teams have now lost 16 consecutive playoff games in which a win would've advanced the team to the conference or league championship. 

Think about that for a second. Four teams. Zero conference championship appearances since 1998. 

Here's the list.

Washington, D.C. sports fans are not greedy. We can't be. We've had some very good teams recently, with the type of talent, coaching and intangibles needed to win a championship. 

TRY THIS: 20 THINGS DC SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT. YES, HAPPY.

The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team won a world championship was in 1992 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.  The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team even made a conference championship game was in 1998, when the Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, defeating the Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Washington, D.C. isn't allowed to have nice sports things.

Sure, we have great players and great teams, but when the playoffs roll around, all the nice things go away. We aren't privy to plucky upstarts who run the table and we aren't privy to dominant teams that make long postseason runs.

Washington, D.C. will have its day, eventually. Sure it may only be a conference championship appearance, but for us, that's fine. We don't expect world championships. We just want something to get invested in.

Early playoff exits are rarely worth the investment.

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With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

"This is the year."

That's the motto for almost every D.C. sports fan when their team is headed for the postseason.

The Nats led a weak NL East the entire season and clinched a spot to play October baseball early into September.

RELATED: COUNTLESS ERRORS DOOM NATIONALS IN SEASON-ENDING LOSS

The team overcame the obstacle of being plagued with injuries and with pitchers like Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer having a strong bullpen to back them up, the stars were aligning for the team to go all the way.

But now with players like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy having contracts up for grabs in 2019, Nationals reporter Chelsea Janes says 2017 was really the last chance for the team to win a stress-free title.

"I think those questions you've raised like Bryce [Harper's] contract, [Daniel} Murphy may be leaving, you know Rizzo's contract's up after next year, I think those are the things they didn't have to deal with this year that made this such a free chance," Janes said on the Sports Junkies Friday.

"It was a free chance to just feel good and do it now and not have everyone say this is your absolute last chance, and next year it's their absolute last chance for a little while, I think."

"I mean they're not going to be awful in '19, but they're going to be different and I think they've sort of wasted their free pass here and there's legitimate and kind of unrelenting pressure on them next year to make it happen."

It's hard to make sense of what a team will look like one day after a devastating series loss. One thing that is fairly certain is that time is ticking for the Nats to make it happen with arguably the most talented group of players they've ever had.