BOSTON -- Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny has been one of the Nationals' most reliable relievers. In his last 10 games, Gorzelanny has allowed three runs in 17 2/3 innings, with 19 strikeouts.
He started the season as a long man, but he has seen his share of time in the late innings.
"I try to go out there and just try to do my job as best as I can," Gorzelanny said. "... Not knowing how long I'm going to be out there helps me focus on one guy at a time. It could be my last guy that I face that day. ... I want to be an important piece of the bullpen, going in there in big situations and help us secure a victory."
Gorzelanny started his career as a starter but was placed in the bullpen by manager Davey Johnson in late July of last year. At first, Johnson acknowledged that he wanted to "baby" Gorzelanny as he adjusted to his new role. Then, the two had a talk.
According to Johnson, Gorzelanny said, 'Look, Skip, I'm a reliever. Use me as one."
Johnson has used him, and it has paid off. Entering Friday's Interleague action against the Red Sox, Gorzelanny has a 2.96 ERA in 32 relief appearances.
"Gorzo was great last year after he moved to the bullpen, and he has been a mainstay out there," Johnson said. "He has been unbelievable. He has been outstanding. He has helped us a lot. I told him I was going to keep leaning on him."