July 31 was a special day for Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez. It’s the birthday of pitcher Jose Fernandez, the Marlins’ All-Star who died last September in a boating accident. Gonzalez was a close friend of Fernandez. At Marlins Park on Monday, Gonzalez and Bryce Harper requested to see Fernandez’s baby daughter in Fernandez’s mom’s first visit to the ballpark since his death, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reported.
Gonzalez went out and pitched a gem against the Marlins, bringing a no-hitter into the ninth inning. It was broken up when Dee Gordon it a 1-1 curve ball into center field for a single. Gonzalez was lifted at that point, receiving a standing ovation from the Miami crowd. Sean Doolittle came in and wiped out Gordon when Giancarlo Stanton hit into a 5-4-3 double play. After Christian Yelich singled, the lefty got Marcell Ozuna to pop out to end the game for his seventh save.
Over eight innings, Gonzalez gave up just the one hit and three walks with five strikeouts on 106 pitches. He’s now 9-5 with a 2.66 ERA and a 132/58 K/BB ratio in 142 1/3 innings this season. With the win, the Nationals pad their least in the NL East to 14 games.
After the game, speaking to MASN’s Dan Kolko, Gonzalez said, “Tonight was more of an emotional night, kind of like a special night. I got to see the Fernandez family. And what a night.” When asked about Fernandez specifically, Gonzalez said he received a special ball signed with Fernandez’s initials before choking up with tears.
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.
Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.
Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.
After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”
Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”
As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.