ST. LOUIS -- It's not certain that Gio Gonzalez will pitch the season finale against the D-backs on Sunday. However, Nationals manager Davey Johnson wants to see Gonzalez make the start because he wants Gonzalez to reach 200 innings and 200 strikeouts.
Gonzalez last pitched Tuesday against the Cardinals, lasting seven innings and allowing two runs on six hits. The left-hander has thrown 195 2/3 innings with 192 strikeouts this season.
"I would like to see Gio [pitch] because he is five innings short of 200 innings. That's also a milestone, too," Johnson said.
If Gonzalez doesn't make the start, right-hander Tanner Roark would be on the mound.
Roark eyes 2014 rotation after strong start in bigs
ST. LOUIS -- Back in Spring Training, Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark had no idea that he would be in the big leagues in 2013. It's not like he made a good impression to Davey Johnson during his experience in big league camp.
However, thanks to the recommendation from pitching coordinator Spin Williams, Roark found himself in the big leagues by August. Now there is a good chance that he could be in the rotation next season. In 13 appearances this year, Roark won seven games and had a 1.74 ERA.
"The team is going to do whatever they are going to do," Roark said. "You can't worry about it. You just keep working hard during the offseason, come back for Spring Training and see what they have to offer."
Roark learned some valuable lessons during his short time in the big leagues.
"If you don't hit your spots, the opposing hitters will hit it a long way," he said. "You have to make good pitches and execute them well. … Hitters in the big leagues are smarter, more patient, while looking for their pitch."
Roark pointed out that he often had hitters behind in the count this year, but they often worked their way back to a favorable count.
"I need to improve on that, big time," Roark said.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashinNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.