Homefield advantage and drawn-out NLDS schedule would be huge for the Phillies

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Philadelphia has edged past Atlanta atop the NL East, which means the Phillies also currently have the record in the league. Homefield advantage is always nice, of course, but as Todd Zolecki of MLB.com notes the ability to choose the seven-day or eight-day schedule for the NLDS could be even more beneficial to the Phillies.
By choosing the eight-day NLDS that includes three off days around just five games the Phillies would be able to rely exclusively on their amazing trio of Roy Halladay (2.36 ERA), Roy Oswalt (3.09), and Cole Hamels (3.06) without any starts being made on short rest.
By comparison the seven-day NLDS would force them to either give Joe Blanton and his 5.16 ERA a start or use the Game 1 starter (presumably Halladay) on short rest for Game 4. And if they were to choose Blanton, then Halladay would be lined up to start Game 5 on extra rest because of the extra day off thrown in between.
In any scenario the Phillies’ exceptional Big Three gives them a huge edge throughout the playoffs and capturing homefield advantage is crucial given their 47-28 record in Philadelphia, but the right to also choose their schedule would make things even tougher on their first-round opponents.

Joe Musgrove shut down with ab discomfort

Joe Musgrove
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Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove is done for the year after suffering an abdominal wall muscle strain and stress reaction in his pelvic bone. While he isn’t expected to undergo surgery or miss additional time in 2019, he’s been prescribed six weeks of rest before resuming any baseball-related activities.

Musgrove, 25, finished out his third year in Pittsburgh with a 6-9 record in 19 starts, backed by a 4.06 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, and 7.8 SO/9. Despite logging a career-high 115 1/3 innings at the major league level, he’s also been dogged by a string of injuries, from the shoulder strain that robbed him of eight weeks at the start of the season to an index finger infection that kept him sidelined for a minimum 10-day stay on the disabled list in June.

While he works his way back up to full strength yet again, rookie right-hander Nick Kingham is expected to cover for him and will make a spot start during the Pirates’ series finale against the Brewers on Sunday. The 26-year-old righty hasn’t started a single game for the team since August 1, and currently carries a 4.69 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.1 SO/9 over 71 innings out of the rotation and bullpen.