Should that read “He’s back” or “His back” with regards to Max Scherzer‘s return to the mound tonight! After Scherzer has been skipped six times in the rotation due to various back issues, he landed on the 10-day IL in two extended lengths due to separate stints with back issues. The first issue was diagnosed as scapulothoracic bursitis for which kept Scherzer from pitching in the All-Star game. Max received a cortisone shot and then pitched on July 25th after he declared himself at 100 percent ready to go, but after that outing he landed back on the 10-day IL with a rhomboid strain above his right shoulder blade in that same area in his back and received a stem cell shot.
In order to make room on the roster for Scherzer, the Nationals have optioned pitcher Kyle McGowin back to the minor leagues along with Adrian Sanchez who was up for three games for Brian Dozier‘s paternity leave after the birth of his first child. Scherzer will be on a pitch limit tonight after a 64 pitch bullpen session three days ago which should limit him to 70 to 85 pitches and five to six innings.
The Nationals will face the left-handed Steven Brault in the final game this season against the Pirates (weather permitting). Nats manager Dave Martinez will counter with his right-handed dominant lineup with Dozier in at second base, and Howie Kendrick at first base. Keep in mind, the Nationals are set to face three lefties in Chicago this weekend.
Washington Nationals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Stadium: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, ATT Sportsnet, MLB Network (out-of-market), MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):