- The Washington Times - Friday, July 17, 2015

The schedule points out the issue: In its current construction, the Washington Nationals’ rotation is set in a way that Max Scherzer will twice miss pitching against the second-place New York Mets.

Coming out of the all-star break, Scherzer will throw Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving him a full week between starts instead of just average rest. Scherzer leads the National League in innings pitched and is on pace for a career high in innings. Scherzer threw 220 innings last season with the Detroit Tigers and could hit 240 this season.

“One, his workload has been pretty immense, as compared to what he’s used to,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “Certainly pitch counts are one thing, but ups are a different thing. The fact that he pitched the last game and went into the ninth inning is a factor. One off day in the next 31 days is a factor. I have to look at it long term, as we all do, and look at the next 31 days and look at how much rest he’s going to get, which will be virtually none. This is an opportunity — probably the only opportunity — that we’re going to have to give him a couple extra days.”

The opening of the second half is stacked for the Nationals. National League West-leading Los Angeles is in Washington for a three-game series, followed by a visit from the second-place Mets, a road trip to face the wild card-leading Pittsburgh Pirates, a trek to Miami to face the Marlins and finally another series against the Mets in New York. Williams said the weight of the immediate schedule did not factor into his rotation decision.

“We have three games against the Dodgers, that we want to win,” Williams said. “Then, we have four games against the Pirates after the Mets, that we want to win. So, if we get to where we want to get to, it’s going to take five guys. Not one. I know there’s a lot of made of it. I can have an opinion about it, everyone else can too. But, if we want to get to the postseason and be a contender in that postseason, we’re going to need all five of the guys.

“We’ve got to give him some rest, at some point. Granted, he’s our ace. We’re not looking at the opponent necessarily, as we are the long term of the rest of the season.”


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