Washington Nationals: 5 storylines to watch as Giants visit DC

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 09: (L-R) Denard Span
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 09: (L-R) Denard Span /
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Max Scherzer

Scherzer returned from a minor neck issue to shut down the Marlins over seven innings on Monday. Everything was extremely encouraging, except one detail that came out after the game. His neck still hurt when he threw his breaking ball.

The Nats have taken a cautious approach with all of their injured players, which has been made possible by an enormous lead in the division. Scherzer is included in this, as he could’ve been ready to start against the Cubs, but was pushed back to face Miami the next day.

Considering the Nats’ cautious approach, we can assume that Scherzer being listed as a probable starter means he is cleared to pitch and isn’t at risk of aggravating his neck. However, the fact that his neck still feels weak and hurts when he throws his breaking ball is a bit discouraging.

Even if Scherzer doesn’t aggravate his neck, this can have an effect on his start. If his neck is bothering him, he may avoid his breaking ball more than usual and rely on his fastball more. The Giants know that his neck bothers him on breaking balls, so they may be sitting on his fastball, which would give them a definite advantage.

This will be Scherzer’s second start against San Francisco this season, and his first was among the best of his career. Scherzer started at AT&T Park on May 31 and threw nine masterful innings, allowing just one run. This was Scherzer’s first of two complete games this season, which are seemingly becoming more rare by the day.

If Scherzer’s neck feels better for this start and he is able to utilize his entire repertoire, look for him to have another phenomenal start against San Francisco.