WASHINGTON—Gio Gonzalez says that the regular season is over, and the postseason is something new and different.
Gonzalez had his worst season in his fifth with the Nationals, said he wiped out his 2016 regular season memories a week ago when the regular season ended.
“This is the playoffs now. That’s over with,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez will start Game 3 of the Nationals Division Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday at Dodger Stadium.
Normally, Gonzalez would have spoken Sunday at the Nationals’ workout on the off day between Games 2 and 3, but that was wiped out with the postponement of Game 2 on Saturday.
Gonzalez will fly ahead of the team on Sunday in order to try and be rested.
“From what I’m hearing, they are going to be getting in a little later than usual. So I guess they just want to give me a little more time to rest,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez was 11-11 with a 4.57 ERA, the only time in his five seasons he didn’t have a winning record, and by far his highest ERA. He started 2016 with a 3-7 record, but did win five consecutive decisions from Aug. 5-Sept. 11.
“It’s not something I want to sit back and reflect. I want to talk about now, which is October,” Gonzalez said. “It’s playoff time.”
One of Gonzalez’s better games this season came on July 20 when he allowed one run on three hits in six innings in a Nationals’ 8-1 win over the Dodgers.
Overall he’s been excellent against Los Angeles with a 3-1 record and sparkling 1.69 ERA in five starts.
The current Dodgers are batting just .160 against Gonzalez with just one home run—by Carlos Ruiz, who he often faced with the Phillies—in 144 at-bats.
“It’s never easy facing that lineup. I would never say, hey, just go out there and pitch. You definitely have to have some common sense to throw to some of these guys. You can’t just groove a fastball right down the middle,” Gonzalez said.
It will be Gonzalez’s first start since the funeral for Jose Fernandez, a close friend of the Nationals’ left-hander.
“It’s never easy,” Gonzalez said haltingly. “Still to this day I have a tough time speaking about it…This is my job. I need to focus on trying to help out the Washington Nationals.”
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