Max Scherzer left tonight’s outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fourth inning with a right hamstring cramp according to Washington Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker, who updated reporters on the issue after a 4-1 loss in the nation’s capital.
“Max had a right hamstring cramp and we took him out for precaution,” Baker said.
“We’ve got to make it to the playoffs healthy, and so we thought it was better that we make that move, a precautionary move to get him ready.”
Scherzer hopped off the hill awkwardly after delivering his 54th pitch of the game with one out in the fourth inning, walked around the mound, and tried to stretch.
Before he could deliver his 55th pitch, however, teammate Daniel Murphy and the rest of the Nationals’ infield converged on the mound with Murphy motioning to the Nats’ dugout for team trainer Paul Lessard, pitching coach Mike Maddux and Baker, who didn’t have much of a discussion with the starter before lifting him from the game.
“I saw him stretching and trying to get it loose,” Baker explained. “And so you kind of know the signs, and then I saw Murphy’s reaction, and then I said okay. I called the trainer out, and Mike [Maddux] out, so it was time for us to make a decision.
“He didn’t want to come out, but we thought it was best that — Max never wants to come out — so we thought it was before for him and us for him to come out.”
Baker told reporters after the loss that it was purely a precautionary move and if the game were a bigger one, Scherzer could have continued.
“In a bigger situation he probably he probably could have stayed in the game,” Baker said.
Scherzer did, however, leave the ballpark for a precautionary MRI according to reports from Nationals Park after the game.
Dusty Baker says Max Scherzer is ok. But Scherzer did leave the ballpark for a "precautionary MRI" according to a team spokesman. #Nats— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) October 1, 2017
Asked if he thought the issue could impact the Nationals’ plans for the rotation in the NLDS matchup with the Chicago Cubs, which starts next Friday, Baker said no... several times.
“No, no. We didn’t even think about that. No. So we’ll let you know. We’ll let the Cubs know too.”
Scherzer finished 2017 regular season with a 2.51 ERA, a 2.89 FIP, 55 walks (2.47 BB/9), and 268 Ks (12.02 K/9) in 200 2⁄3 IP.
Before the hamstring cramp, Scherzer was rolling against the Pirates.
“He was on,” Baker said. “He was electric. And so, yeah, I mean he was vintage Max all the way. He was throwing the ball great.”