Wednesday Night Lights

On Monday night, Major League Baseball released its list of suspended players who were found in an ongoing investigation to have used performance-enhancing drugs.

Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension dominated the headlines, but as we look forward to tonight’s games, one man who’s breathing a little easier, as he’d always anticipated, is Gio Gonzalez.

Gio Gonzalez was one of the biggest names connected to the biogenesis clinic, but the Nationals pitcher persisted in protesting his innocence.

Now he can get back to focusing on his pitching, which must improve if he plans to help the host Washington Nationals end the Atlanta Braves’ 11-game winning streak

In his last outing Gonzalez gave up 10 runs, his most since allowing a career-high 11 against Minnesota while with Oakland in July 2009 and a personal-worst 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings of Wednesday’s 11-1 loss at Detroit.

He had gone 4-0 with a 2.06 ERA in his previous 10 starts.

The left-hander, though, is 5-0 with a 1.92 ERA in his last 12 starts versus the NL, including allowing one run and striking out seven over seven innings before Atlanta rallied for a 2-1, 10-inning victory June 1.

Gonzalez’s first two starts against the Braves didn’t go as well. He gave up seven runs in five innings of a 9-0 loss April 14 before allowing five in four frames of an 8-1 defeat April 30 despite nine strikeouts.

He’s 2-4 with a 5.73 ERA in seven career starts versus Atlanta (68-45), which beat Washington 3-2 on Monday to extend its NL East lead to 13 1/2 games.

As for Braves, Julio Teheran is set to take to the mound, which means the nationals may find it a little harder going.

Teheran (8-5, 3.02) has a 1.00 ERA over his last three starts, earning his only victory in that stretch Thursday by allowing one run and striking out a career high-tying 11 in an 11-2 win over Colorado.

The right-hander has made three starts versus the Nationals this season, going 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA.

With the focus switching back to on-field matters, we’re expecting Gio Gonzalez to lead the Nationals to a series victory at -114.

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