Preview: Marlins look for breatkthrough against Nationals' Gio Gonzalez
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WASHINGTON -- Two veteran left-handed pitchers with opposite results against the other team will meet Wednesday night at Nationals Park.
Washington's Gio Gonzalez (9-5, 2.66 ERA), who came off the paternity leave list Monday, will oppose Miami's Adam Conley (4-4, 5.10) in the third game of the four-game set between the National League East clubs.
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Gonzalez is 8-3 with a 1.99 ERA in 14 career starts against the Marlins. Conley is 1-2 with a 8.00 ERA in four starts against Washington. However, Conley enjoys the challenge of facing one of baseball's best offenses.
"They are one of my favorite lineups to pitch against because they have a lot of skill sets," Conley said Tuesday while standing near his locker. "Those are the teams you want to face. The mistakes you make will be magnified the most. When you perform well, it will be affirming the most."
Conley gave up four runs (three earned) in 5 1/3 innings in his most recent start, Friday at Atlanta.
"When I am ahead in the count, it kind of puts the ball in my court," Conley said. "I just listen to my gut and go out there and compete and do my best. I think what it does for me it is sobering for me mentally to realize I am probably going to be amped up.
"There is nothing about it I don't like because pitching against the best guys in the sport is what I want."
Gonzalez, a father for the second time after the birth of his son earlier this week, is arguably having his best year since 2012, when he first joined the Nationals.
He is seeking his 10th win after his watching his ERA rise every year from 2013 to 2016.
Gonzalez, who grew up in the Miami area, took a no-hitter into the ninth inning in his start against the Marlins in Florida on July 31.
Gonzalez has been able to neutralize Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, the National League home run leader. Stanton has never hit a homer against Gonzalez while going 6-for-27 (.222).
Christian Yelich is 6-for-21 (.286) against Gonzalez, and Dee Gordon is 6-for-19 (.316).
Washington's Daniel Murphy is 4-for-6 with a double, a triple and four RBIs against Conley, and Anthony Rendon is 4-for-9 with three doubles vs. the lefty.
Gonzalez will try to get the Nationals back on track after a 7-3 loss Tuesday, when spot starter A.J. Cole went just five innings. Cole gave up homers to Derek Dietrich and Stanton.
"He was throwing the ball well and then the homer, probably didn't want it down and in on Dietrich. And then the one that hurt was that three-run homer by Stanton," Washington manager Dusty Baker said.
The Nationals rested Murphy on Tuesday before he was used as a pinch hitter. Left fielder Howie Kendrick was out after experiencing back tightness late in the Monday game.
Washington is tied for the NL lead in batting average (.274), but the Nationals could not solve Marlins right-hander starter Vance Worley, who beat them for the second time in a week.
"Every time we were threatening, it seemed like we were hitting into a double play on way or the other," Baker said. "And that's what hurt us tonight, those double plays were haunting us tonight. We had action. We hit some balls hard. We couldn't find any holes at the right time."