The last time we saw Max Scherzer on a mound was on July 6th in an Expos uniform as he masterfully pitched a 7.0 inning shutout with 11 strikeouts. Little did we know, he was suffering from back pain which he thought he could pitch through, and it got worse. He likened the pain to running with a rock in your shoe. After the corrected diagnosis of scapulothoracic bursitis was revealed, Scherzer received a cortisone shot ten days ago that needed six days to take effect. On Monday, the Nats ace threw a bullpen session and declared himself at 100 percent ready to go.
The good news is Max is rested and ready. Scherzer has never had a mid-season break of this length before, and maybe in a strange way this will be a blessing in disguise as Max has seen late season fades with the Nats, and now he should have a fresh arm. In his absence, he missed two key starts including the third game after the All-Star break in Philadelphia, and his team could not complete the sweep of the Phillies on that Sunday game with Max on the 10-day IL. Injuries happen of course, and what is important now is for the three-time Cy Young pitcher to lead his Nats to challenge for the NL East division crown. The Nationals have gained ground on the Braves in Max’s absence and are 4.0 games directly behind the idle Braves who are 4-6 in their last ten games.
The Nats wrap-up their final game of the season this afternoon with the Rockies who will move the righty Jeff Hoffman from the bullpen to make this spot start because they had already optioned Anthony Senzetella before the series. Hoffman was at one time a Rockies top prospect who never panned out. Several of the Nats have faced him before in prior seasons.
In the housekeeping department, the Nats must clear two spaces on the roster. One spot was for the 26th player for the doubleheader, and the other spot will be to make room for Scherzer. Most likely Adrian Sanchez and Raudy Read are optioned back to the Minors, but with Rizzo you never know what direction he will move in. Also, we are just six days from the trade deadline if anyone is keeping count.
Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 4:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, AT&T Sportsnet Rockie Mountains, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):
Trea Turner SS
Adam Eaton RF
Anthony Rendon 3B
Juan Soto LF
Matt Adams 1B
Kurt Suzuki C
Brian Dozier 2B
Victor Robles CF
Max Scherzer RHP