Familiar Struggles Return as Washington Nationals Win

By Lucas Carreras
 May 17, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) congratulate first baseman Adam LaRoche (25) after a three-run home run during the fourth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After his last start in which he was unlucky to not have won after having pitched seven scoreless innings, Gio Gonzalez appeared to have straightened out his early season issues. On Friday night, the early season issues that plagued Gio Gonzalez appeared again when he faced off against the San Diego Padres but it did not end up costing the Washington Nationals who won 6-5 in ten innings.

For the early part of the season, Gonzalez has struggled with giving up runs in the first inning, not being efficient with batters during at-bats and high inning pitch counts. Friday night, each of these issues plagued Gonzalez as he gave up two runs in the first inning, and threw more than 20 pitches to get out of the inning. Gonzalez struggled to locate his fastball during the first and as a result, this made his patent curveball a non-worry for Padres batters. But Gonzalez was able to dig in and find his command and keep the Nationals in the game with the opportunity to be able to come back and win.

While Gonzalez did his best to prevent the Padres from scoring, his teammates, in particular Adam LaRoche, provided the run support, which they failed to give him last Sunday. LaRoche hit two home runs and had four RBI’s, with his three-run home run in the fourth inning giving the Nationals a lead they would hang onto until the ninth inning. That’s when Rafael Soriano gave up two runs to blow the save and deny Gio Gonzalez a win for the second straight outing.

Just as it seemed, the Padres would pull out a late-inning miracle. Chad Tracy would regain the lead for the Nationals by hitting a solo home run in the tenth inning and Drew Storen would close out the game for a Nationals win. Despite the result, Nationals fans will continue to worry about a bullpen, which still does not seem to have all their pitchers. Their seventh-, eighth- and ninth-inning players all pitch well at the same time then have one player struggle, leading to another sub-par field outing from the defense that committed three errors.

Lucas Carreras is a contributing San Francisco 49ers writer and contributing MLB writer for Rant Sports. You can follow Lucas on Twitter by following him @maldini3fan and you can also connect with him on Google+.

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