A couple seasons ago I was watching a game between the Oakland A's and the Minnesota Twins. Much to my dismay I sat and watched Gio Gonzalez get thrown around to the tune of eight earned runs.
That night in 2009 I went on Facebook and posted that Gio Gonzalez would go down as the worst pitcher in A's history. The A's came back and won the game. But many people, one in-particular, took offense to my comments. I took back those comments after a 15 win 2010 season.
In 2011, I think he is the best, most consistent, pitcher in the A's rotation! And he showed it again after seven shutout innings in a 9-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. Since a 5-0 loss to the Angels on April 25th, the 2011 American League All-Star has thrown 14 shutout innings while striking out 15 hitters in his last two games against the Angels. In eight games since a 4-2 loss on June 1st against the Yankees, he has given up three earned runs or less in his last eight starts as he continues to pitch very well in 2011.
Gio Gonzalez 2011 Stats (through Sunday)
9-6, 2.33 ERA, 120 IP, 40 R, 31 ER, 119 K (8th in AL), 54 BB (2nd in AL), .217 OBA
2011 American League All-Star
Don't let the win/loss record fool you. The A's offense has scored three runs or less in five of his six losses this season (the one loss to Texas where his defense didn't help... this means you Adam Rosales!!!). The A's scored more than two runs once in his four no-decisions. Gonzalez could easily have 12-15 wins right now on any other ballclub! He has been that dominate this season.
After the contract extensions signed by Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson (Anderson being out for the rest of this season and possibly all of next), I think it should be Athletics Management's number one priority to make sure Gonzalez gets paid the money he has earned since a 6-7 season in 2009. He has broken out as one of the leagues best pitchers through hard work and a nasty curve-ball.
So about that Twins game in 2009.... I WAS COMPLETELY WRONG ABOUT GIO GONZALEZ! And I am perfectly happy to be wrong about it because he has turned into Oakland's ace this season. And being under contract until 2015, he looks like he will be the ace for a long time to come.