Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team's opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.
Scherzer has been the team's starter on opening day for the past two seasons, but a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger caused him to miss the start of spring training, and the World Baseball Classic.
Scherzer did, however, make his first MLB spring training start of 2017 on Wednesday. The 2016 NL Cy Young award winner allowed two earned runs on five hits over 4.2 innings. He added four strikeouts and one walk, and reportedly looked just like you would expect from Max Scherzer.
"To be out there competing, throwing all my pitches, throwing them for strikes, that's a great first outing," Scherzer told Eddie Matz of ESPN after the game. "Finger's good. Finger feels like a finger. I'm getting through that injury. It's behind me now."
With Scherzer set to open the season as the third starter in the rotation, that likely means that Stephen Strasburg will start on opening day against the Miami Marlins, and Tanner Roark will slot in behind him.
While it's nice to have your ace pitcher starting on opening day, it's not a huge deal to have Scherzer start the season third in the rotation, especially because the Nationals starting rotation is the strength of the team.
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DENVER (AP) -- Trea Turner has hit for the third cycle in Washington Nationals history against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.
Turner also has a career-high seven RBIs on a cold night in the Mile High City.
He had a single in the first, a two-run double in the second, a two-run homer in the sixth and a bases-loaded triple in the seventh.
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The field temperature was a balmy 37 degrees when Turner recorded the final part of his cycle in the seventh inning.
It was the first cycle by the Nationals since Cristian Guzman on Aug. 28, 2008.
Overall, this was the ninth cycle in Expos/Nationals history.
In addition, Turner's seven RBIs are tied for the second-most in a single game in Nationals history.
The Nationals hung on to beat the Rockies 15-12 after giving up seven runs in the final three innings.
If you've understandably been caught up with the Capitals and Wizards in their respective playoff series, you might not be aware of just how hot Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper is right now. Fresh off a three-game sweep of the rival Mets in New York, Harper was named National League Player of the Week.
For the whole week, Harper hit .550 (11-for-20) with four doubles, three home runs, seven RBI, seven walks and 10 runs scored.
He is now leading all of baseball in batting average (.400), he's tied for second in homers (7), and he's alone in second in RBI (20). He's also amassed a blistering 1.340 OPS through the team's first 18 games.
Harper's biggest game of the past week came in Atlanta when he went yard twice, with his second homer being a grand slam. He finished the game 4-for-4 with two homers, one double, five RBI, one walk and four runs scored.
With Harper's injuries from last season behind him (even though he won't completely admit to being hurt), the Nationals' right fielder is back to, or even better than, his 2015 form that ended with his first career MVP award. During that season Harper took home player of the week honors three times.
The Nationals as a team have the best record in baseball at 13-5, and already have a three-game lead in the NL East.
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