Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez asks fans to get focused and get loud

Gonzalez's dog, Stitch, got plenty of attention at Modell's. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Gio Gonzalez brought his adorable dog, Stitch, who also charmed the customers at Modell's. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
(WTOP/Michelle Basch)
A pitcher and his dog. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
We ALL need to rest up for the NLDS. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
This kind woman knitted Gio a very special tissue box cover. Yes, she included tissues. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Pint-sized Nats fans meet a starting pitcher and his pup. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
At Modell's, Stitch is just as popular as Gio. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
(WTOP/Michelle Basch)

WASHINGTON — As the Nationals get ready to start playoff baseball later this week, one player has a request for fans.

“Be as loud as possible. Make sure to rattle everyone’s cages,” Gio Gonzalez tells WTOP. “Stay in the game. Do not lose focus. And make sure that each out counts for us. Make sure you’re there. We’re going to need all your help and all your support.”

WTOP caught up with the Nationals’ starting pitcher Monday night, as he signed autographs for fans at Modell’s Sporting Goods in Arlington.

Gonzalez brought his French bulldog, Stitch, to the meet-and-greet, and the adorable pup appeared to be just as popular as Gonzalez himself.

Gonzalez sounded confident ahead of the first two games of the National League Division Series, set for Friday and Saturday at Nationals Park.

“Our bullpen’s incredible; our offense is unbelievable and our defense is going to be out of this world,” he said.

Gonzalez said he has no preference whether the Nats play the Pittsburgh Pirates or San Francisco Giants — but that the team will be ready for whichever team wins Wednesday’s National League Wild Card game in Pittsburgh.

“What Jordan Zimmerman did to end the season [throwing a no-hitter], I think that set the tone for our momentum,” he said, hinting at much more excitement to come.

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