Gio Gonzalez has been known around the Oakland organization and major league baseball as a pitcher with dynamic stuff, but volatile emotions as well. This past offseason, Gio talked of working to control his emotions on the mound. It appears that his hard work has paid off.
Gio comes into Saturday nights game against the first-place Rangers 9-7 with a 3.69 ERA. The record isn't anything to brag about, but it's not bad when you look at the offense behind him. The A's don't have the offensive output to back their pitchers night after night, and Gio certainly knows that from experience.
Not only has Gio's ERA gone down, but it has dipped quite considerably. In fact, Gio has pitched in three major league seasons, albeit only 10 games in 2008 and 20 games in 2009. Although, if you pretend the season has come to an end today, his ERA will have dropped by two each season. You can say what you want about twisting the stats to look favorably on Gio's improvement, but the ERA tells a clear story. Gio has improved.
The southpaw has thrown almost 40 more innings thus far this season than he did last year and he has walked only three more batters. This shows his accuracy has dramatically improved. In the past, Gio made a mistake and let it get to his head. He would try and make up for it by doing something special, and consequently, lose batters and walk them.
Another positive is the way Gio appears to be getting stronger as the season progresses. In four starts after the All-Star break, Gio has averaged 6.75 innings per start and has a strikeout to walk ratio of almost 4/1.
Once thought to be a mistake and no more than an end of the rotation filler, Gio has proven that he has the stuff to be an important member of a maturing staff. He now joins All-Star Trevor Cahill- who is third in the AL with a 2.72 ERA, while sporting an 11-4 record- and fellow youngsters Brett Anderson and Vin Mazzaro to form what could be a formidable rotation for years to come.