Gio Gonzalez was born and raised in Hialeah, which is very close to Marlins Park.
Tonight, the Washington left-hander has an opportunity to not only pitch for the first time in South Florida, but can win his fifth straight start and improve his already awesome road record for the NL East leaders.
Gonzalez heads into tonight's start against the Miami Marlins tied with Mets knuckleball specialist R.A. Dickey for the major league lead in wins. Dickey pitches this afternoon in Atlanta.
Gonzalez, who turned in a scoreless inning in relief of the National League's All-Star Game win Tuesday, is coming off a victory against Colorado last Saturday, when he limited the Rockies to a run in six innings. He hasn't lost since June 15 against the Yankees and is 7-1 in nine road starts this year.
This will be the second career start for Gonzalez against the Marlins. On June 28 last year, he gave up one hit in eight shutout innings of a 1-0 Oakland win.
Mark Buehrle, who is coming off one of the best outings of the season, counters for the Marlins. The southpaw threw 7 2/3 shutout innings at Milwaukee on July 5 to win his third consecutive start. Buehrle allowed just six hits, didn't walk a batter and fanned eight to tie a season-high in the 4-0 triumph. It marked the first time in his career that he pitched at least seven innings with no walks, no runs and at least eight strikeouts.
Although his record is stuck at .500 for the season, Buehrle's 3.25 ERA at the All-Star break was his lowest since 2007 (3.03).
This will be the first time Buehrle faces the Nationals since they moved out of Montreal. He pitched against the Expos on June 18, 2004 in Montreal. Overall, he is 1-0 with a 6.23 ERA in two career starts against the club.
Last night, Jordan Zimmermann spun six scoreless innings of four-hit ball as the Nationals won, 5-1, to start this four-game series.
Zimmermann (6-6) struck out six and walked just one batter to earn his third win in his last four starts.
Ryan Zimmerman registered three hits, including a two-run homer, and Jesus Flores added a two-run single to help the Nationals secure their sixth victory in their last eight games.
Josh Johnson (5-6) was charged for all five runs on 11 hits with six strikeouts to take his first loss in 17-career games (16 starts) against the Nationals.
John Buck knocked in the lone run for Miami, which has lost three straight.
"We couldn't put it together because Zimmermann threw the ball pretty good," said Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen. "Hopefully tomorrow we come here and swing the bat better."
Miami swept a three-game series from the Nationals at Marlins Park from May 28-30, but the teams have split six meetings this season.