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Posted at 11:43 AM ET, 08/02/2012

Gio Gonzalez talks about shutting down Stephen Strasburg


(Tom Lynn - AP)
There aren’t many better interviews in town than Gio Gonzalez. Scott Van Pelt learned this yesterday when he had Gio on his show, and then took the time to complement the Nats pitcher on Twitter afterwards.

Gio talked about fan support, the team’s chemistry and, of course, shutting down Stephen Strasburg. Here are a few highlights and you can hear the full audio here. It’s worth listening to, if only to hear Gio laugh while talking about his sliding skills.

On Nats fever in D.C.
“Oh, it’s unbelievable. Everywhere we go now, fans are coming up, appreciating the fact that we’re making a big splash out here. Not only that, you got D.C. United soccer team doing a great job, you know, the Redskins are looking to make an impact this year. There’s so many things going on out here. You got the Orioles doing great over there. So, everything’s just going around looking good. Especially out here. It’s fun to see when your city’s coming alive and putting in some Washington Nationals colors all around.”

On the team’s chemistry
“I think it started in spring training. The chemistry was unbelievable. I think that players were just clicking right off the bat. Right from the get-go we were picking each other’s brains, trying to see what we could pick up from each other and, lo and behold, our bullpen looks unbelievable, has been doing incredible for us. Offense is swinging the bat and staying hot. And the rotation, we’re just picking up from one another.

“We try not to stay in a losing streak. We’re constantly picking up one another.”

On shutting down Strasburg
“I’ll be honest with you, Scott. I want the best for Stras. If he’s healthy and strong, and he’s gonna continue to play for the rest of his career, over and over with the Washington Nationals, I really don’t try to [analyze] that. I don’t really try to sit in the office and [say] ‘Hey, Rizz. What are you doing?’ I think he knows what he’s doing and I think that we want the best for Stras. And if that’s the situation, we’re more than happy to back him up. He’s an unbelievable pitcher and he’s been lights out for us all year. He’s key for us so far.

“But at the same time, we want him to be healthy and strong. We don’t want him to be damaged in any shape or form. I feel like we have a great team behind us, great rotation. Guys that can still pick him up whenever they need them. Our bullpen to me is gonna be our key. As long as they’re healthy and strong, they’re gonna definitely clean up a lot of our mess.

When asked if the team could win the World Series without Strasburg
“You know what? We’re not even that far ahead right now. We can’t think World Series. We’re not even in the playoffs yet. We’re still trying to take over and try to beat the Phillies tonight. You just shot right there for the moon and we’re still trying to get up there first.”

On getting his first hit with the Nationals
“I can’t hit if my life depended on it. But I just try to make contact if I could. When I hit it, I was like, ‘Yes! I got it out the way. No more.’ People can’t make fun of me no more.”

By  |  11:43 AM ET, 08/02/2012

Categories:  Nats | Tags:  Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg

 
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