Gio Gonzalez’s whirlwind of 10 days started two Mondays ago in his hometown that was highly emotional, one in which he had a no-hitter intact entering the ninth inning at Miami’s Marlins Park on what would have been Jose Fernandez’s birthday and with the Fernandez family on hand. Gonzalez was a close personal friend of the late Fernandez.
Then it continued a couple of days later, when he returned to Washington leaving the team to see his second child’s birth. This past Sunday, Lea, his wife, gave birth to the newest member of the Gonzalez family Gabriel.
Gonzalez said he was able to watch baseball on the television and then spend valuable time with his new son, change diapers, and get to know his entire family again.
On Wednesday, he pitched against the Marlins again, this time his no-hitter did not even last the first inning, but the southpaw dominated once again limiting the Marlins to a single run in seven innings of work as the Nationals won 10-1.
Gonzalez told reporters following the Wednesday game that there was not much else to hide from their hitters, as he threw everything at them.
Gonzalez’s change up was able to stifle the potent lineup of the Marlins that has Giancarlo Stanton, as well as Marcell Ozuna, two of baseball’s best power threats from the right-side.
Of the 103 pitches that Gonzalez made, 28 were his change-up. Four of the swings and misses had been changes, while Miami put 11 in play, with nine going for outs.
Gonzalez is as teammate Ryan Zimmerman suspected, using his changeup at a higher rate this season. As of Wednesday, Gonzalez has been throwing the change 17.8% of his pitches, which was up from last season’s 15.5%.
It is the second highest rate for his career, behind just the 18.1% he threw during the 2014 season.
His formula has produced the best season Gonzalez has had since 2012, when he was third in the voting for the NL Cy Young Award.
With his performance on Wednesday, Gonzalez’s ERA fell to 2.59 over 149 1/3 innings and 23 starts. It is fourth lowest in the majors behind first place Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, teammate Max Scherzer and Boston’s Chris Sale.
Gonzalez has pitched like one of the top starting pitchers in baseball for the last four months and so the last 10 days much more was on his mind that just baseball.