Gausman exits final start with cut on middle finger

October 2nd, 2022

TORONTO -- Kevin Gausman left his final start of the regular season after just three innings in the Blue Jays' 6-3 win over the Red Sox at Rogers Centre on Sunday with a cut on his right middle finger, which is troubling timing with his next start scheduled for the AL Wild Card Series.

Gausman wasn’t showing any evident signs of discomfort on the mound, striking out four with two runs scored, but the veteran right-hander has long dealt with blisters. This is different than a blister, though, as his skin split near the fingernail. 

“In a different situation, even if this was two weeks prior, I’m staying in that game. With the postseason coming up, I didn’t want it to get any worse and possibly do something [worse],” Gausman said. “It’s unfortunate, obviously. I’d love to stay out there, go deep in that game and pitch the way I know how, but I thought it was the smart move.”

Gausman has dealt with this issue in the past, too, but it hasn’t popped up in about 25 starts, he estimates. He isn’t quite sure why it happened in this start and not others -- perhaps the dry air, Gausman guessed -- but he doesn’t expect this to get in the way of his first postseason start.

“There are some laser treatments that I do every day, so I’ll just do them more,” Gausman said. “I might have an extra day, so I’ll really just try to get out in front of it.”

Gausman has enjoyed a strong season for the Blue Jays in his first year of a five-year, $110 million contract he signed this past offseason. He’ll finish the regular season with a 3.35 ERA over 174 1/3 innings, striking out 205 batters, and he’s put himself in a position to be one of the leaders of Toronto’s rotation in the postseason. 

Behind Alek Manoah, who’s expected to start Game 1 of the Wild Card Series, Gausman would line up in either Game 2 or Game 3, depending on how the Blue Jays choose to configure the rotation with Ross Stripling. Regardless of when Gausman’s shot comes, he’s eager to get back out there and prove that he’s a big-game pitcher.

“I made my first start last season and hadn’t pitched in the postseason before,” Gausman said, “but when you get the ball to start the game, that’s what you dream of. That’s what you hope for at the start of the season, and hopefully, we can do it here.”

With Gausman out, reliever Zach Pop took over for the fourth and gave the Blue Jays two shutout innings, helping his own case with a pair of sharp defensive plays. Adam Cimber, Anthony Bass, Yimi Garcia and Jordan Romano rounded out the strong relief effort, with Romano earning his 36th save of the season.