Confident in Scherzer’s Hammy, Nats Don’t Roster Long Man Among 11 Pitchers

Max Scherzer was supposed to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday, then again on Thursday. He opted for 10-15 minutes of catch on flat ground both times, all the while maintaining that he’d definitely pitch in the NLDS. The speculation has been that he’s targeting Game 3, but he was noncommittal in speaking with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan Friday afternoon.

Scherzer said that he’ll throw a bullpen “soon,” but would not say exactly which game he planned to start. He did, however, reiterate that he would pitch in the series. That could really mean just pitching out of the bullpen, though the Nationals’ roster construction indicates some pretty solid faith that Scherzer will indeed be able to make start.

As we saw with the Cubs, the Nationals are going with only 11 pitchers in order to max out their position-player flexibility. But while the Cubs have a pair of potential long men in Mike Montgomery and John Lackey, the Nats have none.

That tells us they’re either really confident in Scherzer or they just decided to say “Eff it” while throwing caution to the wind. As the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes pointed out on Twitter, though, the “Nats feel (Enny) Romero, (Sammy) Solis, (Oliver) Perez, even (Matt) Albers can go multiple innings.”

And even should Scherzer not be able to go, Stephen Strasburg could turn around and take Game 4 on short rest while Gio Gonzalez goes on regular rest in Game 5. That would hamstring them a little bit heading into the next series, but they’ve got to worry about the Cubs before they concern themselves with the Diamondbacks.

Given the timeline of the series, you’d think Scherzer would have to throw off a mound by Saturday in order to be declared ready for Monday’s Game 3. Even a Game 4 matchup with Jake Arrieta could be in jeopardy by that point. Which, wow, who’da thunk those two could make their postseason debuts that late?

Our obsessive attention to the back of Max Scherzer’s right leg will continue as more information becomes available.

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