It’s never good when your ace pitcher leaves his start the day before the last game of the season. So Washington Nationals fans held their breath Saturday when Max Scherzer left with a hamstring injury. We’re talking about a team that’s never won a postseason series and might be in its best position to do so. An injured Max Scherzer? That’s a frightening prospect for the NL East champs.
It’s OK to exhale, D.C. The news was good Sunday, as Scherzer told reporters that an MRI showed the injury was nothing major. It was just a “tweak.” He said he could run. And then, after briefing the team’s beat writers, he hit the field for batting practice with his glove on. It was about as best-case-scenario as possible.
Scherzer told reporters, including Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post:
“[The MRI] showed exactly what we thought. Nothing major. More of a tool to help know we need to treat it,” Scherzer said. “…The good news thing about this is, I can walk and run around on this. It’s not a major strain or anything, where it’s debilitating. So I’m pretty upbeat and positive about going forward here.
“I wouldn’t have come out if that was a playoff game.”
That brings up the next question — and it wasn’t one Scherzer was keen on answering at the moment.
When does he expect to pitch in the postseason? He wouldn’t say for sure he’d be ready to go for Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs:
“That’s tough to say right now. We’re not even 24 hours out,” Scherzer said. “We’re still trying to get all the doctors to take a look at this and make sure that we have the absolute correct diagnosis. But we have a really, really good idea of what we’ve got here.”
The Nats have the luxury of starting Stephen Strasburg in Game 1, if need be. So even if Scherzer is pushed back to Game 2, that wouldn’t be the worst thing. It might even be better. He’d be in line for a potential Game 5 if the series gets there.
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