Gio Gonzalez won't get a chance to notch his 22nd win of the regular season. He'll have to settle for a chance to notch the very first win of the postseason.
Gonzalez was scratched from his scheduled start tonight against the Phillies and told to begin preparing to take the mound for Game 1 of the National League Division Series, which will be played either Saturday in San Francisco or Sunday in Atlanta, St. Louis or Los Angeles.
"It means a lot," the left-hander said of his designation as the Nationals' postseason ace. "Especially with such a great rotation we have, some guys that could easily take that and deserve it. I'm just grateful to even be mentioned in that conversation. If they feel like they want me to put out in the first one, I'm going to give it all I've got."
Davey Johnson made his decision official this afternoon, confirming Gonzalez will start Game 1 of the NLDS, with Jordan Zimmermann starting Game 2. The order of the rest of the Nationals' rotation will depend on their first-round opponent.
"If it's Atlanta, we'll probably go with a lefty," the manager said. "If it's St. Louis, probably Edwin Jackson. I'll figure that out. I haven't really gone into all the match-ups. That's just in my head."
Gonzalez could have started tonight's game and still kept himself in line to pitch Sunday. But the possibility of a Saturday start to the postseason convinced Johnson to skip his ace's regular-season finale and tell him to begin preparing for this weekend.
Gonzalez isn't entirely sure what his preparation will entail, when he'll throw off a bullpen mound since he may not know until tomorrow night when the game will be played.
"That's one of those things me and pitching coach Steve McCatty are going to have to sit down and talk about. Again, this is a learning curve for me. I don't know know how to prepare myself for something like this. Some way, somehow I'll find it and I'll try to figure it out. We've got guys who can lead the way and can help lead me where I need to be."
WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon homered twice and drove in five runs, Joe Ross returned from the minors to allow one run over a career high-tying eight innings, and the Washington Nationals routed the Seattle Mariners 10-1 on Tuesday night.
Bryce Harper added his 14th homer and Jayson Werth hit his seventh off Chris Bergman (1-2), who allowed all of the Nationals' runs and 14 of their 15 hits.
Rendon doubled before his second homer -- and seventh of the season -- completed an eight-run fourth inning. Ryan Zimmerman also had three hits.
Mike Zunino homered off Ross (2-0) in his return from his own minor league stint. Robinson Cano was hitless in his first game back from the disabled list following a thigh injury as Seattle dropped its fourth straight.
Ross showed no signs of the late April struggles that ended with a demotion to Triple-A Syracuse. He yielded five hits and a walk while striking out six, and retired 12 straight batters after a leadoff single to begin the game.
By the time Seattle finally put multiple runners aboard, Washington had already opened a 10-0 lead.
Rendon's second-inning shot around the left field foul pole made it 2-0.
Then Werth, Harper and Rendon all connected in the fourth, helping the Nationals score seven of their eight runs in the inning with two outs.
MORE NATIONALS: WATCH: Werth, Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nationals win
The Nationals had a big day at the plate Tuesday night.
Washington hit four home runs, including three in an eight-run fourth inning, in its 10-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon hit two home runs – the first a two-run blast to left field in the second inning and the second a three-run shot to center in the fourth. He finished the game 3-for-4 with five RBIs.
Prior to Rendon’s second homer in the fourth inning, left fielder Jayson Werth hit a two-run blast to left field, which was followed by a solo shot from right fielder Bryce Harper in the next at-bat.
Harper’s homer was measured at 450 feet.
At the end of the fourth, the Nationals led 10-0, which also included an RBI single from catcher Matt Wieters and an RBI triple from shortstop Trea Turner.
Tuesday night’s contest was the first of a three-game home series against the Mariners, who play in the American League. The Nationals and Mariners also will play Wednesday and Thursday.
Earlier this season in a 23-5 win over the New York Mets on April 30, Rendon went 6-for-6 with three home runs and 10 RBIs to become the first player to accomplish that feat since at least 1913. He now has seven homers this season.
Harper’s homer was his 14th of the season, tying him for first in the National League with the Atlanta Braves’ Freddie Freeman. The New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge is first with 15.
Though he did not have a home run Tuesday night, Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has 13 for the season.
MORE NATIONALS: 2017 MLB Power Rankings: As Bryce Harper goes, so do the Nationals