As NLDS approaches, signs point to Strasburg starting Game 1

Sep 30, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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So you want to be a major league manager for a playoff team do you?

I'm sure you'd rather not have to worry about your ace having a tweaked hamstring a few days before the start of the divisional series against the defending World Series champions.

That's exactly what Nationals Manager Dusty Baker is facing as his Nats will welcome the Cubs to town this week, with the status of Max Scherzer very much up in the air.

Scherzer tweaked his hamstring in his final regular season start on Saturday. When he will pitch next in a game is currently anybody's guess.

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"This a tough thing for me to diagnose on myself to be able to communicate with the team," said Scherzer on Tuesday. "Even for my own knowledge of what I can do, because I'm able to do so much. This only seems to show its head when I'm pitching near or at 100 percent."

Manager Dusty Baker confirmed that the starter for game 1 on Friday is not known yet.

"We really haven't decided exactly," said Baker. "Got a couple of days to decide. Stras did throw a pen, and Max was supposed to throw one hopefully tomorrow (Wednesday). We'll see, and then we'll make a determination sometime prior to game time.

Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg declined interview requests, citing an upcoming scheduled availability. The team did tell the media that the starting pitchers do address the media the day before their scheduled start.

While it is possible that Max Scherzer will start game 1 for the Nats, it is more likely that he will be held back to at least game 2. If Strasburg starts game 1, and Scherzer starts game 2, either pitcher could start a potential game 5 on full rest, or Strasburg could pitch in game 4 on short rest if needed.

The Nationals' series with the Cubs begins Friday at Nationals Park.