Max Scherzer

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Max Scherzer and Ryan Zimmerman receive honors from fellow ballplayers

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USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer and Ryan Zimmerman receive honors from fellow ballplayers

NEW YORK -- Houston second baseman Jose Altuve was voted outstanding player for the second straight season in Players Choice Awards balloting by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was selected Marvin Miller Man of the Year, given to the player who most inspires other players through on-field performances and contributions to his community. Rizzo was treated for limited state classical Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2008 and in 2012 founded the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, which funds pediatric cancer research and supports the families of children with cancer.

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Altuve, who led the Astros to their first World Series championship, also was voted outstanding AL player for the second straight year. He hit .346 and won his third AL batting title in four years. Miami outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was the outstanding NL player, leading the major leagues with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs.

Washington right-hander Max Scherzer was picked as the outstanding NL pitcher, going 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA and an NL-leading 268 strikeouts. Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber was the AL's outstanding pitcher with an 18-4 record and big league-best 2.25 ERA.

New York outfielder Aaron Judge was the top AL rookie, setting a major league rookie record with 52 homers. Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger was the top NL rookie, hitting an NL rookie record 39 homers after his late April debut.

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Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas were the top comeback players. After shoulder, wrist, thumb, foot, hamstring and oblique injuries, the 33-year-old Zimmerman hit .303 with 36 homers and 108 RBIs, earning his first All-Star Game selection since 2009. The 29-year-old Moustakas returned from a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained in May 2016 and hit .272 with 38 homers and 85 RBIs.

Balloting among big league players took place on Sept. 19 and results were announced Wednesday.

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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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Scherzer or Strasburg? Mike Rizzo still unsure of NLDS Game 1 starting pitcher

Scherzer or Strasburg? Mike Rizzo still unsure of NLDS Game 1 starting pitcher

The Nationals are two days away from hosting the reigning World Series champs, the Chicago Cubs, in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. 

General manager Mike Rizzo has made adjustments all season long to get his team to this spot. One thing he is still unsure of though is who will take the mound on Friday night. 

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The obvious starter would be the teams ace Max Scherzer, but he is currently dealing with a '"tweaked" hamstring. Scherzer insist he will be pitching in the NLDS but if he can't start Game 1, who will?

"You know, we're not sure yet," Rizzo said on the Sports Junkies Wednesday.

"We haven't made the decision. We certainly haven't made the announcement."

"Max is not only our number one starter, he's probably the number one starter in the league and maybe in baseball. If he's capable of pitching Game 1, he's the Game 1 starter. If we feel it's beneficial for him to get an extra day or two days to rest the hamstring and prepare for Game 2 or Game 3 , we would certainly be open to that."

Having your number one pitcher not feeling 100 percent would send any other team into a frenzy, but luckily for the Nats, their depth at that position is one of the strongest in the league.

"The good thing about our club is that we have two number one pitchers with Stras and Max and we're fortunate to have that option. When you run the hottest pitcher in baseball out there Game 1 and Stephen Strasburg, that's not the worst thing in the world. We'll take that any day of the week."

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So, will the possible delay of Scherzer's start affect how Mike Rizzo and Dusty Baker set the Nats' lineup? 

"I think going into this, injuries or how people feel, will affect the people that you put on the roster. Your extra players and that type of thing. I think that Max's situation is such that we feel good about where he's at. I don't think it would correlate any other move because of the hamstring."

"But, we still haven't decided on the last one or two players on the roster. It's going to be contingent on how people progress. You know, we're looking at Brian Goodwin in the workouts here to see how he's feelings, how he's moving, how he's running, and some other different guys, you know, on taking the last piece of that roster and see how it will improve us for a short, five-game series." 

The Nationals are set to take on the Cubs at Nats Park Friday at 7:31p.m. on TBS.