Before Gonzalez unwinds his arm, he clears his head. To do that, he has to look right. "I try my best to get a haircut before [every game]," he says. "It's almost a ritual, a routine that I have to do." A clean-shaven face and a tight trim won’t strike fear into a batter, but Gonzalez insists that “a loose mind means a loose body." He's conditioned himself to associate the barber with winning, giving himself a psychological edge through positive reinforcement.

Gonzalez needs to take care of his gut as well as his mind – the two are intimately linked – so he embraces hunger, waiting until 2 p.m. on game days to eat his first meal – usually pasta. "That energy has to keep with you throughout the whole day," Gio explains. "I only have one meal." This diet keeps him from feeling full and content on the mound. With his hair managed and his stomach full, but far from bursting, Gio feels trim and ready to go.