Max Scherzer broke down his situation on Tuesday, telling reporters in the nation’s capital exactly what he’s dealing with four days after tweaking his right hamstring during his final regular season start.
“I’m able to throw a baseball, flat ground,” Scherzer explained. “The only time you do feel anything with this injury is near 100% throwing a baseball. It’s very related to my pitching mechanics, and not necessarily how I run or sprint, so continue to get more treatment, just continue to do what I need to do and just live it day by day.”
Just so there was no question, Scherzer was clear he will pitch in the NLDS at some point.
“Oh, I’m pitching in the NLDS,” Scherzer said resolutely. “I’m pitching in the NLDS.”
When is the question, of course, and it’s one Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo was still not ready to answer when he appeared on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday morning.
“We’re not sure yet,” Rizzo said when asked if he was ready to name the Game 1 starter for the NLDS against the Chicago Cubs on Friday night.
“We haven’t made the decision. We certainly haven’t made the announcement. Max is not only our No. 1 starter, he’s probably the No. 1 starter in the league, and maybe in baseball. If he’s capable of pitching Game 1, he’s the Game 1 starter.
“If we feel it’s beneficial for him to get an extra day or two days to rest the hamstring and prepare for Game 2 or Game 3, we would certainly be open to that.”
“The good thing about our club,” Rizzo continued, “is that we have two No. 1 pitchers with Stras and Max and we’re fortunate to have that option, and when you run the hottest pitcher in baseball out there in Game 1 in Stephen Strasburg that’s not the worst thing in the world, we’ll take that any day of the week.”
Strasburg earned the final NL Pitcher of the Month award for September/October after putting up a 0.83 ERA, a 1.54 FIP, seven walks (1.93 BB/9), 40 Ks (11.02 K/9) and a .167/.228/.184 line against in 32 2⁄3 IP over the final weeks of the regular season.
In one start against the Cubs this season, the 29-year-old right-hander struck out 13 batters in seven innings, giving up four hits and three runs, two earned.
Rizzo told reporters this afternoon that the Nationals will make the announcement on their Game 1 starter tomorrow.
Sense continues to be Strasburg will pitch Game 1. Rizzo called it "not quite confirmed" when asked directly. So that's where we are.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) October 4, 2017
Rizzo wouldn't commit to when Scherzer will start, other than committing that he will start in NLDS. Hasn't thrown yet today.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) October 4, 2017
The Cubs announced their NLDS rotation this afternoon:
#Cubs playoff rotation vs. #Nationals: Hendricks, Lester, Quintana, Arrieta.— Patrick Mooney (@MooneyNBCS) October 4, 2017