The Nationals have scratched Gio Gonzalez from his final regular season start tonight after clinching the NL East title last night.
Washington is still fighting Cincinnati for the No. 1 seed, but manager Davey Johnson has decided that resting Gonzalez for a Game 1 start in the NLDS is more important. Tom Gorzelanny will take his place against the Phillies.
Making a 33rd start also could have helped Gonzalez’s case for the Cy Young award, but instead he’ll finish two-thirds of an inning short of cracking 200 innings for the third straight season and ends the year 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA.
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.