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Heist: Gio, Come on, man

Thursday - 5/17/2012, 3:24am  ET

gio gonzalez
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, May 16, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
Craig Heist, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- I absolutely don't have a problem when athletes use clichés.

You know, like the ones in the movie "Bull Durham," when Crash Davis tells "Nuke" LaLoosh when talking to media he should say things like, "You have to play them one day at a time, I'm just happy to be here and hope I can help the club and I just want to give it my best shot."

Then there's the ever popular, "This is a very simple game, you hit the ball, you catch the ball, you throw the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains."

Most of the time, that's what Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez sounds like.

The thing about Gio is, he'll never take credit for the success he's achieved on the mound.

Here is a guy who is 5-1 this year after the Nats' 7-4 win over the Pirates on Wednesday night; he's won 31 games over the last two seasons and has pitched just over 200 innings in each of the last two years.

But ask him how his stuff was and you get, "The good news is we got a win. I managed to keep the team in the game as long as possible"

Not bad on the cliché front.

Then there is his favorite, "I was just pounding the strike zone and [Jesus] Flores (or whoever the catcher might be that day) called a good game, keeping it in and out, moving it around."

On the success of the Nationals starters, once again it was, "We just go out there and continue to pound the strike zone."

You get the idea. Don't bring too much attention to yourself, don't say too much, always have your teammates' back and always try and say the right thing.

But when discussing his outing against the Pirates, you couldn't help but chuckle a little bit, OK, downright laugh out loud, when Gonzalez started talking about giving up a two-run homer to Bucs third baseman Josh Harrison.

Here is a guy - Harrison - who raised his average from .188 to .222 in one night, hit his first home run of the year and drove in three runs, making just his eighth start of the year.

Not exactly Babe Ruth but when Gonzalez was asked if he was aware he hadn't given up a home run in his last 58 innings, we got this little ditty from Gio, "He's a great hitter. He is one guy you don't want to fall behind. He proved it when he took a hack off Henry (Rodriguez), 99 [miles per hour] and he still caught up with it and that's very impressive, quick bat speed. I just wanted to attack the zone (there's another one) as much as possible and fall behind and put us in a bigger hole. When he hit the ball, you tip your hat to him."

The Pirates finished last night's with a team average of .219. Only the Oakland Athletics are worse in the Major Leagues at .217, but when it came to assessing his outing Gonzalez knew what to say.

"That's a good hitting lineup," he said.

Or maybe he didn't know what he was saying.

Never let the stats get in the way of a good story.

There is one thing about Gio Gonzalez that makes him so enjoyable to be around. He has a great personality with an even better sense of humor. He is always smiling and bouncing around the clubhouse and I asked Ian Desmond if he is the same way in the dugout as he is in the clubhouse.

"Yes, he's a clown," Desmond said. "He has fun and just does his job. He throws the ball to the plate. He's a simple minded guy as far as pitching goes, not a lot of superstition and there is never really a tense situation when he's out there."

Gio, we love ya, we really do but, come on man.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)