The Washington Nationals announced that Gio Gonzalez will start Game 2 of their National League Division Series against the Chicago Gubs on Saturday, with Max Scherzer starting Game 3 on Monday.
The Nationals had been evaluating Scherzer’s ailing hamstring before making a final call, hoping that he would be able to pitch in Game 2 and potentially be available for Game 5. However, manager Dusty Baker said the main priority was Scherzer’s health.
The Cubs will start Jon Lester on Saturday, followed by Jose Quintana in Game 3.
Scherzer threw a bullpen session on Friday, and will make his 13th career postseason start on Monday. He injured his right hamstring in a Sept. 30 start against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and said it really only bothers him when trying to push off the rubber.
“Today he threw some, yesterday it was determined that we would be better if we waited until Game 3,” Baker said.
Despite the allure of having Scherzer available to pitch twice in the series, the Nationals decided not to push the injury.
“We realize that if (Scherzer) pitched Game 2, he could probably pitch Game 5 if necessary,” Baker said on Thursday. “We realize that, but is that worth taking a chance? And if you get past the first round, then are you jeopardizing the second round? So you have to kind of weigh both. But you know, the health of Max – I think – is No. 1.”