Fan Post: Can Gio Take Over as A’s Bulldog?

Featured Fan Post: Can Gio Gonzalez Take Over as A’s Bulldog?

By Frank Gomez, Twitter: @ MR_FJG_SON

Throughout A’s history, there hasn’t been many nicknames that embodied a player like the one Tim Hudson earned during his early years in Oakland. They called him bulldog. On the mound, Hudson was the epitome of a bulldog because of the heart, grit, and courage he displayed in every pitch. At 6-foot-1, Hudson made it seem as if he was in a constant struggle to try and harness the gravitational pull of the earth in order to align it with his mechanics. He did this so he could get the most out of his small frame.

Hudson had nasty stuff, but what really separated him from most pitchers was his mentality. He was like Rasputin on the mound, and with deceptive movement, he made batters swing at his nasty cut-fastball, sinker, and slider. He owned the mound, and some of the characteristics we saw in him, we’re starting to spot in Gio Gonzalez, another emerging A’s pitching stud. This upcoming season, Gio can become one of the American League’s best pitchers, especially if he continues to build on last season’s numbers. Last season, he was the only A’s pitcher to not miss a start, compiling a record of 15-9 with a 3.23 ERA. His 171 strikeouts, 200-some innings, 1.47 WHIP and his WAR of 3.2 was also impressive.

Aside from his stats, though, he’s also developing the mentality of a bulldog. In a recent interview with CSNBayArea.com’s Mychael Urban, for example, he talked about “owning it” when he toes the rubber. In fact, he claimed he acquired that confidence from the grit and determination he noticed in his good friend, Dallas Braden. It’s contagious. Harnessing the mind, you see, is a powerful asset, particularly in sports, where athletes need to be able to hone their physical abilities as much as their mental ones. Gio is already on the fast track to becoming a top-flight starter, but he’s also beginning to conquer the hardest part of pitching: the mind.

Based on his stellar performance, I think Gio always had swagger lying dormant within him. But with a full year of seasoning under his belt–along with some expectations entering the season, we need to pronounce Gio as the staff’s new “Bulldog” who will lead the A’s back into the playoffs.

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