ST. LOUIS — After he finished with his media responsibilities for the day, and the Nationals’ workout was finished, Kurt Suzuki plopped himself into one of the comfortable chairs in the visitors’ clubhouse at Busch Stadium Saturday afternoon and turned on the Oakland A’s game.
Sunday afternoon, Suzuki will catch Gio Gonzalez for the 85th time in his career. He will take the left-hander to the mound and guide him through his the first playoff start of his career.
He’ll do all of that for the Washington Nationals. Not the Athletics.
“Not the Athletics,” Suzuki said with a laugh Saturday, pondering the fact that the catcher and the pitcher who spent the previous four years working together for the A’s will start their first playoff games together for the Nationals.
“I think it’s (crazy),” Suzuki said. “I think me and Gio, we envisioned ourselves being with the A’s for a while, but in this game you never know. The path took us this way and I’m very grateful for the opportunity and I’m excited.
“This has been a great couple months for me. I’m excited.”
The Nationals acquired Suzuki on Aug. 3. Gonzalez started the second game of a doubleheader that night. That was the last time anyone other than Suzuki caught him this season. In his final 10 starts, all of the ones after Suzuki was traded, Gonzalez is 8-2 with a 2.00 ERA.
Suzuki’s comfort with him, as well as his ongoing education on the National League, has brought them to this point. It’s not the way they envisioned it years ago when they were building their careers in Oakland. But here they are, nonetheless, and happy to be rooting on their old teammates.
Sunday, as Gonzalez and Suzuki began their warmup in left field at Busch Stadium, the A’s game against the Tigers played on the video board behind them. Tommy Milone, one of the top prospects the Nationals had shipped to Oakland in the trade for Gonzalez, had tossed six innings of one-run baseball to put the A’s in a great position in Game 2 of their ALDS.
Neither Nationals player looked at the board.
“Me and Gio,” Suzuki said Saturday, looking around the clubhouse at his Nationals teammates. “We’re excited.”