For some, it is a tale of two halves. For Joe Musgrove, it was a tale of two roles. As a starter, Musgrove posted a 6.12 ERA with a 1.51 WHIP. After being demoted to the bullpen, he registered a sparkling 1.44 ERA with a stingy 0.86 WHIP. Sometimes, this is just happenstance, with regression occurring after the role change, not because of it. However, in this instance, Musgrove increased the use of his fastball (adding three mph), slider and cutter while barely throwing his sinker and curveball. The results were astounding, as Musgrove's swinging-strike rate gained three percentage points, while his walks and homers dropped significantly. Focusing on homers, as a starter, Musgrove surrendered 16 in just 78 innings compared to only two in 31.1 frames out of the bullpen. Just when it seemed he was poised to become one of the useful non-closer fantasy relievers in the Chris Devenski or Chad Green mold, Musgrove was dealt to the Pirates as part of the Gerrit Cole trade. He will return to starting in Pittsburgh, and more growing pains should be expected.
Musgrove (shoulder) did not participate in a bullpen session Wednesday, but will attempt to play catch Thursday, Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports. Musgrove has been dealing with right shoulder discomfort in recent days. The 25-year-old appears to be taking it easy with Opening Day still more than a month away, especially considering he missed time with a similar ailment last June. Expect a better sense of his status in the coming days once he's able to resume activities.
Musgrove skipped a scheduled bullpen session Sunday due to right shoulder discomfort, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Shoulder discomfort forced Musgrove to the disabled list for a 10-day stint last season. The righthander was acquired in the Gerrit Cole trade and is expected to compete for a spot in the starting rotation. Tyler Glasnow and Steven Brault would likely vie for the fifth starter's spot if Musgrove is forced to the DL.
Musgrove allowed two hits and struck out two over 1.1 scoreless innings to earn his second save in Wednesday's 4-3 win over the White Sox. Closer Ken Giles was unavailable after tossing 35 pitches over two appearances in three days, so it fell to Musgrove, who closed out a second save in five days.
Musgrove allowed one run on one hit while striking out three across two innings to earn the save Saturday against the Mariners. Musgrove was protecting a three-run lead, and aside from allowing a solo homer in the ninth inning, he easily closed out the victory. This was just his second save opportunity of the season, and the first one he was able to convert. With a 4.89 ERA on the season, he hasn't been a strong fantasy option.
Musgrove (5-8) allowed two hits and struck out three over three scoreless relief innings in Monday's 13-4 win over the Phillies. A two-hour rain delay ended starter Brad Peacock's night after just three innings, so Musgrove, in his new role out of the bullpen, got the Astros through innings four through six. During those three innings, Houston scored seven times, making it a comfortable win. This will be Musgrove's role going forward.