Tom Gorzelanny understood the black-and-white details were grim. In the box score, his first big league appearance in a Nationals uniform, tonight against the Houston Astros, looked like this: 2 1/3 innings pitched, three runs (two earned), five hits, three walks, one strikeout and one wild pitch.
“It didn’t look pretty,” Gorzelanny said. “I never want to look at a box score and see that I did bad.”
And yet, Gorzelanny culled some positives from his uneven start, during which he threw 47 pitches. Only 23 of those were strikes, but Gorzelanny felt like most of the pitches that missed were at least around the plate - “I wasn’t erratic, all over the place,” Gorzleanny said. He also squirmed out of some jams, allowing one run - and it was unearned - it the first two innings despite allowing six base runners.
“There were a lot of positives,” Gorzelanny said. “I think they definitely outweigh the negatives.”
Gorzelanny had not pitched in a major league game before tonight because of his bout with walking pneumonia right before spring training started. Those problems, Gorzelanny said, are behind him.
“I feel totally normal now,” Gorzelanny said. “Everything is good. I’m on track just like everybody else. This was a good start.”
Gorzelanny could afford to take a relaxed outlook of his start given his current status. Early this morning, Manager Jim Riggleman said the plan, while there is some competition for the fifth spot, is to give Gorzelanny the fifth-starter spot.
Chad Gaudin, who struck out six in five scoreless innings in the afternoon game today, and Ross Detwiler have both been impressive. But the situations of those three pitchers differ greatly. The Nationals acquired Gorzelanny in a trade shortly after he signed a one-year, $2.1 million contract. He is also out of options. Gaudin, meanwhile, is a minor-league free agent, and Detwiler has minor league options remaining.
If Gorzelanny could change one thing about his outing, it would have been the way he located his slider. He felt his arm dropping down, which threw off his control of the pitch. Otherwise, though, Gorzelanny looked past his rocky results.
“I feel like I’m where I need to be,” he said.