Nats to start Strasburg in Game 1 vs. Cubs

The Washington Nationals will start right-hander Stephen Strasburg in Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs on Friday night.

Manager Dusty Baker made the announcement on Thursday, but did not say who will start Games 2 and 3 while the team evaluates the status of Max Scherzer, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury.

Scherzer was scheduled to throw a bullpen session later on Thursday to test the hamstring. Baker acknowledged that starting Scherzer in Game 2 would also make him available for a potential Game 5, but added that “the health of Max is No. 1.”

If Scherzer is not ready to pitch in Game 2, Gio Gonzalez will get the start.

The Cubs have announced their rotation, with Kyle Hendricks starting Game 1. He will be followed by Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Jake Arrieta, if a Game 4 is necessary.

Strasburg went 15-4 with a 2.52 ERA and 204 strikeouts during the regular season, and posted a 0.86 ERA after the All-Star Break. That included allowing no runs in six of eight starts since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 19.

He only previous postseason start game in Game 1 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants in 2014.

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