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Should Max Scherzer start Game 1 of the World Series? Mike Rizzo assumes he will

Should Max Scherzer start Game 1 of the World Series? Mike Rizzo assumes he will

Who should the Nationals start on the mound in Game 1 of the World Series? A question that is a luxury due to the Nationals having a week off in-between their sweep of the Cardinals in the NLCS and the start of the final series of the year.

Should it be the ace and three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer? Or should they start their best pitcher since July in Stephen Strasburg?

President of baseball operations and general manager of the Nationals Mike Rizzo believes they will turn to Scherzer.

"I would assume that we would go with Max one, [Strasburg] two. I would think," Rizzo said during his weekly appearance on The Sports Junkies admitting that he does not know all the information. "Maybe Corbin two, I don't know."

Rizzo is keeping the cards close to his chest. Or, perhaps, he truly does not know and the decision has yet to be made. Depending on who the Nats play, the Astros with a lights-out rotation or the Yankees with perhaps the best bullpen in recent history, could be a determining factor.

Lining up Scherzer against the presumed No. 1 pitcher for Houston, Justin Verlander would likely set the Nats up for a long pitcher's duel. The Nats would also like to have Scherzer or Strasburg lined up against Gerrit Cole, whenever he pitches in the series. If it's the Yankees, that completely changes the conversation as well. 

Either way, don't expect anything out of left field. Scherzer or Strasburg will likely start Game 1.

"That's not going to be breaking news when it happens," Rizzo told the Junkies. "We get to set up a rotation the way we want. It may matter which team we play (on) what we do."

The 2019 postseason has been a referendum on Stephen Strasburg's career in the playoffs. In three starts, the righty has a 3-0 record with a 1.64 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP. He also leads all pitchers in the postseason with 33 strikeouts. 

If there is any justification to start someone over the future Hall of Fame pitcher in Scherzer, it is based on Strasburg's performance. Yet, Scherzer started the Wild Card Game with the stats even more favored to the younger Strasburg.

The best news for the Nationals is that they have options. Something that they couldn't really say about their pitching staff much of the postseason thus far. 

Here are the postseason stats for all of the Nats starting pitchers:

-Stephen Strasburg (3-0): 1.64 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 18 hits, 33 Ks, 1 BB
-Max Scherzer (3-0): 1.80 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 9 hits, 27 Ks, 8 BB
-Aníbal Sánchez (1-0): 0.71 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 5 hits, 14 Ks, 3 BB
-Patrick Corbin (1-2): 7.43 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 11 hits, 26 Ks, 10 BB

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Is Nationals vs. Orioles a true rivalry?

Is Nationals vs. Orioles a true rivalry?

Let's just get this out of the way now -- no, it's not a rivalry. 

There, now we can move forward from here.

With the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles getting set for their first series of the 2020 MLB season, the conversation about whether or not "Nats and O's" should be considered a rivalry is once again rearing its ugly head. 

Here's the deal, Washington and Baltimore have a rivalry -- you know, the cities -- but the teams aren't even close to that yet. For true rivalries to form in sports, the foundation is always rooted in meaningful games. I mean, they're not even in the same division. Just because two teams' ballparks are an hour or so away from each other doesn't mean the players on the roster have a deep-rooted hatred for one another.

Think of some of the most historic rivalries in sports, the biggest moments are either postseason games, or games that can determine who wins a division and goes to the postseason (or conferences in college, but you get the idea). 

Washington Football Team and Cowboys, Lakers and Celtics, Duke-North Carolina, Yankees Red Sox, and the list goes on. Every single one of these rivalries grew organically, not just geographically. They've had to beat each other to win their division, their conference, or advance in the playoffs. 

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The games have to matter first, it's just that simple. This means that until we see a Nationals-Orioles World Series, we can continue to argue about whether crabs cakes or mambo sauce is better, but we can't call this weekends' series a rivalry. 

Maybe one day. 

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Yankees manager Aaron Boone complains about Phillies fans blowing airhorns outside stadium

Yankees manager Aaron Boone complains about Phillies fans blowing airhorns outside stadium

Phillies fans haven’t been allowed inside Citizens Bank Park to heckle opposing players this season, but they still found a way to draw the ire of New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

During Thursday night’s contest between the Phillies and Yankees, Boone pulled the umpires aside in between frames to complain about a group of fans outside the stadium blowing an airhorn during his team’s at-bats. The sound could be heard on the TV broadcast as Phillies starter Zach Eflin handled Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres in 1-2-3 fashion.

They’re apparently called the “Fandemic Crew” and have attending all Phillies home games to cheer them on. Word quickly reached the group that Boone wasn’t happy with their airhorn.

Considering the fans were outside the stadium, there really wasn’t much the umpires could do. It appears not even a pandemic is going to stop Phillies fans from making their presence known.

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