Max Scherzer Comments on Status for Playoffs After Hamstring Injury

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 13:  Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the San Francisco Giants during Game 2 of a doubleheader at Nationals Park on August 13, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
G Fiume/Getty Images

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer was forced to leave Saturday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a right hamstring cramp, per ESPN.

On Sunday, Scherzer was asked if he'll be able to pitch in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Friday, via Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports.

"That's tough to say right now," he said. "We're not even 24 hours out. 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."

"We took him out for precaution. We gotta make it to the playoffs healthy," manager Dusty Baker said after the game on Saturday. "So we thought it was better that we make that move, the precautionary move, to get him ready."

He had allowed just one hit and no runs in 3.1 innings before coming out, but now the team awaits results of an MRI.

Scherzer has established himself as one of the best starters in baseball over the past half-decade. He's won the Cy Young Award twice, once in the AL with the Detroit Tigers and once with the Nats in the NL, and he's earned five straight All-Star Game selections. He will end the regular season with a 2.51 ERA and 0.90 WHIP.

The 33-year-old Missouri native has also remained highly durable during his rise to stardom. He entered the year having made at least 30 starts in eight consecutive seasons dating back to 2009. He was forced to the disabled list in mid-August with neck inflammation, though.

Washington will struggle to replicate the ace's production if the latest ailment forces him back out of the rotation. Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez have had outstanding seasons, but losing an ace like this for the playoffs could pose a problem.

The Nationals have been on cruise control for most of the season thanks to the weakness of their NL East counterparts. That said, the important games are ready to begin, and they need to be as close to 100 percent as possible if they want to advance in the playoffs.