Nationals' Max Scherzer Plans to Start vs. Phillies Despite Broken Nose Injury

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2019

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer throws to an Arizona Diamondbacks batter during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, June 14, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer plans to start against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday after suffering a broken nose Tuesday.

According to Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic, Scherzer has a black eye, but he told manager Dennis Martinez on Tuesday night, "Expect me to pitch." Scherzer is slated to start the second game of a day-night doubleheader, with Patrick Corbin getting the start for Washington in the opener.

Scherzer suffered the injury Tuesday during batting practice when he bunted the ball into his face:

ESPN @espn

Max Scherzer broke his nose after taking a ball off the face during a bunting drill. https://t.co/M9o4hYBj0J

The veteran righty was diagnosed with a broken nose, but his CT scan came back negative, per ESPN.com.

Scherzer, 34, is enjoying another strong season as the Nats' ace with a 5-5 record, 2.81 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 136 strikeouts in 99.1 innings. He also boasts the best FIP in Major League Baseball at 2.26, according to Baseball Reference.

Entering this season, Scherzer had finished fifth or better in the Cy Young voting in six consecutive campaigns, including second or better in each of the past three. Scherzer also has three National League Cy Young awards to his credit.

Scherzer is well on his way to another strong finish in the Cy Young voting, but it hasn't led to strong results for the Nats as a whole. Washington is fourth in the NL East at 33-38, and it trails the first-place Atlanta Braves by 8.5 games.

Washington is six games behind the second-place Phillies, which makes Wednesday's doubleheader a key set of games for the Nationals if they want to get back in the playoff picture.

Scherzer has been the subject of trade rumors due to Washington's struggles, but Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal that he would only consider moving Scherzer in a "franchise-altering" deal.

For now, Scherzer dealing every fifth day represents the Nats' best chance to return to contention in the immediate future.