Gonzalez has promising debut vs. Mets

April 28th, 2019

NEW YORK -- First the Brewers lost reigning National League MVP Christian Yelich, who was removed in the fifth inning with lower back discomfort. Then they dropped a 5-2 decision to the Mets on Sunday in the finale of a three-game series at Citi Field.

Brewers starter Gio Gonzalez was solid in his 2019 debut, going five innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs. The runs came in the first and second innings. After the second, Gonzalez mostly stayed out of trouble.

“A bit of a rough start,” manager Craig Counsell said of Gonzalez’s outing. “But then he settled in and gave us a chance.”

Gonzalez threw just 82 pitches in the outing, which was his first live game action since April 14 in the Minors with the Yankees. If Gonzalez works his way up to pitch counts of 90 and 100 moving forward, as there is every indication he will, he can certainly help to steady the rotation moving forward, especially as a durable arm in his career thus far.

“I thought he settled down really [nicely],” Counsell said. “His offspeed stuff was very good today … He struggled with his fastball early in the game especially, but that got better as the game went on. His offspeed was very effective today.”

Batters went 0-for-4 in at-bats ending on his changeup, a pitch he got a 50 percent strike rate on for the afternoon. They went 3-for-9 in at-bats ending on his curveball.

Asked about his offspeed success on Sunday, Gonzalez credited his catcher, Manny Pina.

“I think Manny and the defense was huge for me,” Gonzalez said in assessing the outing as a whole. “The guys did a great job. Manny was calling a great game back there. I felt like even when there was one or two pitches we shook off, it was immediately back to what we wanted.”

Gonzalez said he “felt great,” also noting that his rhythm and timing were good.

The Brewers entered Sunday with a 5.63 starters ERA, which ranked 26th in the Majors. More outings like this from Gonzalez would certainly help bring that number down. Sunday, by all counts, was a move in the right direction.

“A good first step,” Counsell said. “I think maybe he was a little rusty going out there in the first inning, but like an experienced guy he kept it together and still made pitches, wiggled himself out of a few jams and gave us a chance.”

The Brewers will head home to face the Rockies, looking to recapture the offensive outbursts that characterized their first two games of this series.