Washington Nationals left handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez won his twentieth game Saturday in a 10-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Gonzalez became the first pitcher in team history to win 20 games. He also passed the 200 strikeout mark.
Gonzalez threw seven inning of three hit ball giving up two runs, striking out five and walking one. The Nationals bats came alive with six runs in the fourth inning as third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and shortstop Ian Desmond homered. This gave Gonzalez a 9-0 lead.
With the victory Gonzalez ran his record to 20-8. He currently leads all National League pitchers in victories and his earned run average of 2.84 ranks him fifth. This will certainly earn him some votes for the Cy Young Award in the winter.
If Gonzalez wins it is because he will have done something no Washington pitcher has almost since the days of Young himself. General Crowder of the old Senators was the last 20 game winner in that franchises history. He won 24 in 1933 to tie Lefty Gomez of the Philadelphia Athletics for most wins in the American League.
The first version of the Senators moved to Minneapolis in 1961 and became the Minnesota Twins. They were replaced by an expansion team that same season. In the 11 years of their existence the most games any pitcher won was 16 by Dick Bosman in 1970. After the 1971 season the new Senators left for Arlington and became the Texas Rangers. Washington was without baseball for 34 years before the Montreal Expos became the Nationals in 2005.
This is the first 20 win season in Gonzalez career. He was brought over last winter from the Oakland Athletics for four minor league prospects. With the team planning on shutting down right hander Stephen Strasburg after 160 innings it was hoped that Gonzalez would be the ace by October. Washington expected to be in the post season and knew that they did not have an ace already on their staff
The Nationals are in the post season and Gonzalez will be their number one starter. He has shown strong command of his pitches walking only 73 batters and hitting five. Whenever Washington has needed someone to bring them out of a losing streak Gonzalez has done it. He has helped solidify a young pitching staff and taken the pressure off of Strasburg, Ross Detwiler and Jordan Zimmerman.
Gonzalez will not get enough starts to tie Crowder’s 24 victories. There are only 11 games left in the season. He will be the man whom they rely on in October.
For now, he will always hold a place in Nationals history as the team’s first 20 game winner.