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Why Max Scherzer pitching Game 3 could be a good thing

Why Max Scherzer pitching Game 3 could be a good thing

With Game 1 of the NLDS starting Friday night against the Cubs, one of the biggest concerns for Nationals fans is ace Max Scherzer not pitching Game 1 or Game 2 due to a hamstring injury.

The team announced Thursday that Stephen Strasburg would be pitching Game 1 and potentially Gio Gonzalez Game 2 with the plan to have Max Scherzer in for Game 3.

The Nats are about to take on the reigning World Series champs and considering they have yet to experience playoff baseball success, many fans are worried about Scherzer not taking the mound until Game 3. For Nats reporter Dan Kolko, that could be a good thing.

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"This is not something that Max Scherzer is used to or enjoys very much," Kolko told the Sports Junkies Friday.

"He likes going out there and being able to throw his 110 pitches every single start. This has frustrated him but it is what it is. The Nationals are trying to manage it the best they can."

"I don't think that having Max go Game 3 in Chicago is the worst thing in the world. It kinda leaves an ace in the hole, literally and figuratively, in the Cubs' minds that they're going to have to deal with one of the best pitchers in the world Game 3 of this series."

Depending on the outcome of Game 1 and 2, having one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball on the mound for you Game 3 could potentially change the momentum of the series. 

Dealing with health issues for the Cy Young Award winner has been a new experience for him in the 2017 season. 

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"This hamstring thing is something that, at least publicly, he said has just kind of popped up on him. He did acknowledge what you kind just said, which is that there have been a few, small things now that he's had to deal with over the last few months and he acknowledged as well that he's frustrated by that. He's not used to his body not allowing him to make 32, 33 starts a year."

So, what's the plan to get Scherzer ready for Monday's game in Chicago?

"Dusty Baker saying that they could have him throw a bullpen session two days ago and really they could have had him throw a bullpen session yesterday to try and make his way onto the mound for one of the first two games of this series, but they haven't done that."

"They're taking an abundance of caution here with the thought process that they want a healthy Max Scherzer. They don't want this being something that pops up again when he's on the mound in the division series."

"It certainly looks like Gio Gonzalez Game 2 and Max Scherzer Game 3, which will be Monday in Chicago. So, that will give Max a couple extra days to let that hamstring heal. We'll see whether he throws a bullpen session tomorrow, on Saturday, and assuming he does, then that would slot him likely to throw Monday against the Cubs."

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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018. 

Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.

Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.

The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.

Only the Marlins have had as many.

"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me."

"I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It's hard to understand." 

The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.

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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

While Nats fans were still digesting the news that Dusty Baker will not return as manager next year, the team released some more surprising news. 

Second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent knee surgery today, per an official team report. 

Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes reported that the surgery is considered significant and the team won't put a timeline on the recovery process:

"The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it."

"For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.

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