Washington Nationals left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez has been voted National League Pitcher of the Month for the month of May. It marks the second consecutive monthly honor for a Nationals pitcher after Stephen Strasburg won the award in April. The Nationals are the first Club to have winners in the opening months of the season since 2009, when Ubaldo Jimenez won in April and May for the Colorado Rockies. In addition, the last team to have winners in back-to-back months overall was the Atlanta Braves, when Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe won in August and September 2010, respectively.
In five May starts, Gonzalez was a perfect 5-0 and tied for the Major League-lead with in wins while compiling a 2.25 ERA in 32.0 innings of work with a N.L.-leading 45 strikeouts. His five wins are the most by a Nationals pitcher during the month of May since Livan Hernandez accomplished the feat with a perfect 5-0 record in May 2005. The 26-year-old has won 10 consecutive May decisions dating back to 2010 with his last May loss coming on May 12, 2010 at Texas while with the Oakland Athletics. He posted an ERA under 3.00 for the sixth time in eight months, dating back to the beginning of the 2011 season. On May 5, facing the Philadelphia Phillies for the first time in his career, Gonzalez allowed just four hits over 7.0 innings of work with seven strikeouts and one walk in the 7-1 win at Nationals Park. The Florida native earned his fifth victory of the 2012 campaign on May 16th, tossing 7.0 innings with 10 strikeouts in a 7-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in Washington. Gonzalez allowed his first home run of the season in the win after logging 48.1 innings without giving up a homer to start the season. On May 27th, Gonzalez, who was acquired by the Nationals from Oakland during the offseason, faced the Atlanta Braves for the first time in his Major League career and earned his fifth consecutive victory, tossing 7.0 innings of two-hit ball while fanning 10 en route to a 7-2 Washington win at Turner Field. It was Gio’s second consecutive road victory after hurling 6.0 shutout innings in a 2-1 win at Philadelphia on May 21st. His 2.04 ERA and 0.94 WHIP currently rank second among qualifying N.L. pitchers this season while his 79 strikeouts are tied with teammate Stephen Strasburg for second in the league. This is his first career monthly award.
Other pitchers receiving votes included knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (4-0, 1.83 ERA, 33 SO, 34.1 IP) of the New York Mets; Philadelphia Phillies starter Cole Hamels (5-0, 2.25 ERA, 42 SO, 44.0 IP); left-hander Chris Capuano (4-1, 1.62 ERA, 29 SO, 33.1 IP) of the Los Angeles Dodgers; San Francisco Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (3-1, 1.51 ERA, 26 SO, 41.2 IP) and reliever Santiago Casilla (1-2, 1.26 ERA, 10 SV, 12 SO, 14.1 IP); and Pittsburgh starter James McDonald (3-1, 1.54 ERA, 39 SO, 35.0 IP).
The National League Pitcher of the Month for May, Gio Gonzalez, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, to commemorate his performance.