White Sox-Nationals Preview
After a stellar start, the Washington Nationals couldn't keep their momentum going on the road. They're hoping a return home will get them rolling again.
Gio Gonzalez will try to build on an impressive season debut and lead his franchise to its first 4-0 start at home in a decade in Tuesday night's interleague opener against the Chicago White Sox.
Washington (4-2) became the 13th team since 1900 to open with back-to-back shutouts and outscored Miami 11-1 in a three-game sweep. The Nationals followed that effort by getting outscored 27-10 while dropping two of three in Cincinnati.
Washington will try to bounce back by improving to 4-0 at home for the first time since 2003, when the franchise was known as the Montreal Expos. The Expos won their first nine home games in 1981.
Gonzalez (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will be looking to turn in another stellar performance. Despite dealing with a headache, the left-hander allowed two hits and struck out five over six innings, and hit his second career home run in a 3-0 victory over Miami last Tuesday.
Gonzalez, who won a career-high 21 games and finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting in 2012, entered this season facing questions for his involvement with a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Florida that reportedly sold performance-enhancing drugs.
Gonzalez has denied wrongdoing and said subsequent blood and urine tests have come back clean. Major League Baseball's investigation is still ongoing.
"I've got no worries about that," he said. "I'm not ready to argue or talk about that. I'm ready to move forward. I'm already over it. I'm ready to move past that and focus on 2013."
Gonzalez, 4-1 with a 1.65 ERA in his last nine interleague starts, will face a White Sox team that's used its power during a 4-2 start. Chicago is batting .230 but 11 of its 45 hits have been home runs, including three in a 4-3 win over Seattle in 10 innings Sunday.
"Sometimes you're going to score runs with homers. We're here to score runs any way you can," Rios said.
The White Sox will seek a season-high third straight win with help from Jake Peavy (1-0, 1.50), who also had a strong debut to this season. The veteran right-hander struck out six and gave up two runs and four hits over six innings in a 5-2 win over Kansas City on Wednesday.
Peavy's next start will open a 10-game road trip for Chicago.
"Getting on the road is always fun," Peavy told the team's official website. "At the same time, we're going to face some pretty good baseball teams. ... The biggest thing is coming out of this road trip with our head above water, not letting things get away from us and having a bad road trip."
Peavy is 6-2 with a 1.63 ERA in eight interleague starts since joining the White Sox in July 2009 and has earned two wins over Washington in that span. He tossed a three-hit shutout in his most recent game in the nation's capital on June 19, 2010, and is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in three starts there.
Gonzalez is 0-4 with a 5.86 ERA in five matchups with the White Sox but has allowed a combined three runs in his past two meetings.
The teams have split 12 all-time matchups but Chicago is 4-2 in Washington.