The Washington Post

Gio Gonzalez annoyed at his command issues

Facing a New York Yankees lineup stacked with A-listers, Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez gave up just one run while striking out six in a 3 1/3-inning stint Friday. But afterward, Gonzalez called the start “a minor setback,” and noted solemnly, “There’s a lot of work I have to do.”

Specifically, Gonzalez was annoyed at his lack of command, as evidenced by the 32 pitches he needed to navigate a messy first inning, and the two walks he allowed in the fourth, which ended his afternoon at 69 pitches (only 39 of them strikes). Gonzalez even dismissed his six strikeouts, saying the Yankees’ hitters “helped me out a little bit” by chasing pitches out of the strike zone.

“I can’t work my pitch-count up by walking people,” Gonzalez said. “So definitely, there’s a lot of things I need to work on.”

Gonzalez made several references to his conditioning, or lack thereof, saying he “started losing fuel” in the fourth inning and acknowledging he needed to get in better shape. “I just started wearing down,” he said. “But hopefully, within the [next] week my conditioning gets better and my arm will get a little stronger.”

Dave Sheinin has been covering baseball and writing features and enterprise stories for The Washington Post since 1999.

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