Despite all of the drama that has surrounded Gio Gonzalez over the last couple weeks, he did his best to tune it out and prove that the lingering PED scandal would not hinder his performance.
On Monday, Gonzalez proved that he was not distracted by the PED rumors that swept the baseball community. A two-inning, hitless performance while striking out three batters and walking one was just the outing he was looking for.
Despite having his name linked to the documents from the Miami-based "clinic," Gio took to the mound on Monday and shut down the New York Mets.
Gonzalez was consistently hitting 92-94 mph with his fastball, according to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post. Kilgore also reported how Gonzalez felt after his outing:
It’s good to get on that mound again and get back at it, especially with the fan support I was getting out there, it’s good to hear that fans still support and still love you. It was a little butterflies. You get the butterflies again, which is a good thing. When you get that feeling, it means baseball hasn’t left your emotions.
While Gio can lose his fastball location at times, it was a sigh of relief to see him buckling hitters with devastating curveballs and sending Ike Davis back to the clubhouse on strikes via the curveball.
In two unhittable frames, Gio issued only one walk while striking out three batters, which was set up by his ability to establish command of his curveball. The biggest reason for this might have come in between innings when Gonzalez spoke with pitching coach Steve McCatty.
After speaking with coach McCatty in between innings, Gonzalez took to the mound exhibiting even better control and throwing seven of 11 pitches for strikes. Speaking of the adjustments in between innings, Gonzalez told Kilgore:
Just like a hitter, you want to stay compact and not fly open. That’s the same thing as a pitcher. That’s what ‘Cat brings to the table for me. It was fun to see him and joke around with him. But when it comes down to getting serious across those lines, it’s the adjustment. I always ask him: "What did you see?"
Gonzalez exhibited on Monday that he would be able to move on from this incident and take his coaches advice in hopes of becoming an even better pitcher for the Washington Nationals this season.
It won't be long before Gonzalez is helping to lead this team deep into October.