Washington Nationals: Five storylines to watch as Marlins make their final trip to DC

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 24: Giancarlo Stanton
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 24: Giancarlo Stanton /
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washington nationals
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Max Scherzer’s return

Max Scherzer was first impacted by neck stiffness when he was forced to leave his start in Miami after just one inning on August 1. He then returned on August 7, his first of two starts before once again being placed on the disabled list with neck stiffness.

Scherzer was scheduled to start on August 18 in San Diego, but he was scratched before the game, forcing Matt Grace to take the start. After being scratched and placed on the disabled list, Scherzer said they were targeting a return for last Friday against the Mets.

Obviously, Scherzer was unable to return on Friday and there were a few setbacks. Dusty Baker then said that they hoped he’d be able to pitch on Sunday against the Mets, which also didn’t happen.

Fortunately, Scherzer is the probable starter tonight against Miami, which most likely means his pain is at least mostly gone. However, his neck has caused him two disabled list stints, so you have to wonder if this is going to be a recurring issue.

At least for now, Scherzer is back and is scheduled to pitch tonight. After returning from the disabled list the first time, he said he still felt weakness in his neck, which was especially prevalent when he threw breaking balls. Hopefully that pain and weakness will be gone and he is able to pitch like he is capable and remain 100% healthy.

Hopefully, for the Nats’ and baseball’s sake, Scherzer will be able to pitch the rest of the season without any further issues. However, Scherzer and the Nats need to be responsible regarding his return. The division is just about locked down and the Nats will make the playoffs without Scherzer, but progressing through the playoffs is another story. The Nats need Scherzer in order to go on a deep postseason run and pushing him to start meaningless games in August and September is not worth risking his future.

Scherzer is scheduled to make his return from the disabled list tonight; his start and how he comes out of it will both be worth keeping an eye on.