Nationals

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.