About a half-hour into the Nationals’ otherwise quiet workout Tuesday afternoon, cameras suddenly pivoted toward right field, where Max Scherzer began playing catch on flat ground. Given the uncertain status of his “tweaked” right hamstring, this qualified as a good sign, a noteworthy maneuver. But the more noteworthy event took place a few yards behind him in the Nationals’ bullpen, where Stephen Strasburg was throwing in the background. Strasburg usually throws a bullpen two to three days before a start. Game 1 of the National League Division Series begins in two days, Friday night at Nationals Park. That Strasburg was throwing a bullpen, then, suggested that he would be ready to start then. No one would say so, of course. “We really haven’t decided exactly — we have a couple days to decide,” Nationals Manager Dusty Bakers said. “Stras threw a ‘pen. Max is supposed to throw one, hopefully, tomorrow. We’ll see. And then we will make a determination sometime prior to game-time.” The Nationals almost certainly will announce their starter Thursday, which is when the Game 1 starters for both teams generally address the media in an MLB-sanctioned news conference. When asked Tuesday, Strasburg declined to speak to the media, citing an already scheduled availability some time soon. The Nationals clarified that all starters have such pre-start news conferences. Maybe it’s nothing. But Scherzer himself reminded reporters that a starter could start Game 2 and also pitch Game 5 on regular rest. A successful bullpen Wednesday would probably leave him on a good schedule to start Game 2 Saturday. A successful bullpen is not a given, however. Scherzer admitted that he feels the hamstring trouble — not pain, but something wrong — when he throws a baseball at 100 percent. So he can run, jump, lift weights, play catch, and do any number of things that would suggest he is completely ready for a start this weekend. Pitching seems to be the only problem.
Nationals' Scherzer: 'I'm pitching in the NLDS'
Washington Post | Oct 3