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Brewers’ Gio Gonzalez calls starting Game 1 of NLCS ‘a pretty cool story’

Traded to Milwaukee through the Nationals on Aug. 31, Gio Gonzalez will lead off the NLCS for the Brewers’ rotation. (Benny Sieu/USA As of late Sports activities)

MILWAUKEE — It was once within the overdue hours of Aug. 31, after a sport that received’t be remembered, on an evening he received’t omit, that Gio Gonzalez’s previous clashed head-on along with his long run.

He walked into the interview room at Nationals Park and sat in entrance of a Nationals-themed backdrop, dressed in a dark-blue Milwaukee Brewers hoodie. He had simply been traded to the Brewers from the Washington Nationals. The deal was once finished sooner or later close to the beginning of a rain-soaked sport between the groups, early sufficient for fanatics to shout “Thanks, Gio!” and “We like you, Gio!” sooner than he had gotten reliable phrase. Washington was once his house. Washington was once the place he had began his circle of relatives. Washington was once the place he received 21 video games in 2012, the most productive season of his profession, as he completed 1/3 in Nationwide League Cy Younger vote casting.

However now the Nationals have been dropping gamers, and Gonzalez was once subsequent. He was once now not the pitcher he as soon as was once. He had now not been for months. He didn’t understand how he can be utilized by the Brewers, if he can be a starter or a reliever or if he would even pitch in any respect. All he knew was once contemporary get started, a wanted contemporary get started, was once forward.

“At this time, August 31 is August 31, however now we’re what, October 10 or 11? Able to move and pitch Recreation 1,” Gonzalez mentioned Thursday, wearing a Brewers long-sleeve blouse inside of any other white-walled interview room, this one at Milwaukee’s Miller Park.

And, sure, he was once speaking about Recreation 1 of the Nationwide League Championship Sequence.

Gonzalez will lead the Brewers into an NLCS conflict with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night time, and he’ll throw the primary pitch of the collection someday round eight:09 p.m. Jap time. The verdict through Brewers Supervisor Craig Counsell comes in spite of Gonzalez’s spotty leads to six profession playoff begins, in spite of Gonzalez now not pitching as soon as within the Brewers’ Nationwide League Department Sequence sweep of the Colorado Rockies, in spite of that, when Gonzalez joined Milwaukee, he had a 7-11 file and a four.57 ERA as a part of the Nationals’ disappointing season.

In spite of all of that, Counsell likes the best way the left-handed Gonzalez fits up with the Dodgers’ stacked lineup. He trusts the 33-year-old with the staff’s 11-game profitable streak and the next move of a spirited run. Counsell will proceed to deploy his pitching body of workers in inventive tactics — he has not too long ago used a reliever to start out a sport, and he does now not hesitate to name on his bullpen early — so Gonzalez is solely anticipated to get as many outs as he can sooner than hassle stirs.

That task will have to be simple sufficient. After the best way those previous few months have long past, Gonzalez is solely glad to have it.

“I don’t know; I couldn’t provide an explanation for what was once occurring,” Gonzalez mentioned of what has came about for him since he left the Nationals. “I simply sought after to pitch, and I feel [the Brewers] actually helped me out. Guys have been making nice performs. Guys have been serving to me out. Bullpen was once implausible, so that you knew . . . it’s essential to simply pass so long as you need after which you could have the bullpen to roughly select it up from there. That was once a protected haven over there.

“So for me, I imply, it doesn’t remove from the fellows that I were given to play with in Washington. They have been exceptional, and I constructed such nice relationships with guys over there. And now I’m hoping to do the similar factor right here in Milwaukee.”

A robust appearing Friday may just pass a ways in linking himself to this franchise, and to this town.

Because the business, Gonzalez is Three-Zero in 5 begins with a 2.13 ERA. His largest look got here in Recreation 162 of the common season, with the NL Central identify nonetheless up for grabs, when he threw 5 scoreless innings in an 11-Zero win. He has now not pop out of the bullpen, although there was once some dialogue that he would possibly, and his Recreation 1 get started will come on 11 days of relaxation.

However the playoffs have at all times offered some issues for Gonzalez. He has a four.78 profession ERA within the postseason, throughout six NLDS begins with the Nationals, and he gave up 3 runs in 3 innings (whilst strolling 4) in a Recreation five loss to the Chicago Cubs final fall. In his first profession postseason get started, the entire long ago in 2012, he took the ball in Recreation 1 of the NLDS and walked seven in 5 innings. In Recreation five of that collection, with the season at the line, he let the St. Louis Cardinals chip away at a 6-Zero deficit, giving up 3 runs sooner than he was once lifted in what become a gut-wrenching, Nine-7 loss.

The Brewers aren’t going to invite an excessive amount of of him Friday; Counsell wired his dedication to bucking conference in the case of his pitchers. The Brewers have a loaded bullpen with shutdown lefty Josh Hader, Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress, all of whom served because the nearer sooner or later this season, and all of whom may just input the sport at any time. Counsell even famous that Jhoulys Chacin, the staff’s introduced starter for Recreation Three, can be to be had in Recreation 1, relying at the state of affairs.

All fingers are on deck. Gonzalez will simply be the primary to come back out of the dugout.

“He simply were given into a place the place it’s merely a contemporary get started and easily a spot the place, you understand, any participant that’s traded, there’s a bit of extra juice there,” Counsell mentioned of the way Gonzalez earned his accept as true with in the sort of large spot. “You were given to turn out your self, even if you’re a longtime main leaguer.”

One of these lengthy wait between appearances isn’t utterly overseas to Gonzalez. When he joined Milwaukee, and as Counsell mulled over the best way to deploy his latest arm, Gonzalez waited within the dugout for seven video games sooner than he were given his first likelihood in a Brewers uniform. The time clear of pitching gave him an opportunity to take a step again, to take a look at the last few months, at what was once operating and what wasn’t, and what he may just do another way, given a clean slate.

However he nonetheless itched for the mound. It didn’t topic if it was once as a starter or out of the bullpen or within the opening sport of the Brewers’ 1/3 look in a league championship collection. It by no means has.

“I simply wish to pitch. I’m thankful I am getting to pitch any other postseason sport, and with any other staff now,” Gonzalez mentioned overdue Thursday afternoon. “I used to be virtually on my manner house the tip of September. So that you can take a seat right here, and I’m pitching Recreation 1 of the second one spherical, I feel that’s . . . it’s beautiful outstanding, beautiful unbelievable, and optimistically I am getting to inform my children about this sooner or later.”

And with that, Gonzalez grabbed his Brewers hat off the desk in entrance of him and walked temporarily out of the room, towards the Brewers clubhouse, towards his new locker surrounded through his new teammates, and into the 27 hours main into the following largest get started of his existence.

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