Nationals name Stephen Strasburg as Game 1 starter vs. Cubs, Max Scherzer remains questionable

It came as little surprise that Washington Nationals manager named Stephen Strasburg as Friday night's Game 1 starter against the Chicago Cubs in the National League Division Series at Nationals Park.

The biggest issue, however, is when ace Max Scherzer will be able to pitch. Scherzer, who tweaked his hamstring, is scheduled to throw off a mound during Thursday's workout.

"A lot depends on how he looks and feels," Baker said of Scherzer's status for Game 2 or 3. "We’ll let you know later."

Baker said the Nationals elected to not have Scherzer throw a bullpen session Wednesday, as was previously planned.

Strasburg's status could affect the makeup of the Nationals' roster, Baker added.

"We realize if (Scherzer) pitched Game 2, he’d probably pitch Game 5, if necessary," Baker said. "We realize that, but is that worth taking a chance if we get past the first round, and are you jeopardizing the second round? 

"We have to weigh both. But the health of Max is No. 1."

Baker said the Nationals would name their Game 2 starter well before Game 1 ends.

If Scherzer isn't ready for Game 2, left-hander Gio Gonzalez would start. That would leave Scherzer for Game 3, which seems more likely with each day his routine is changed.

Baker said the stoic Strasburg took the news of his Game 1 assignment in stride.

"He had that same look when he left my office as when he came in," Baker laughed. "It's the truth, I swear.I (thought) he was going to say, 'yeah.' "

But Baker said Strasburg displayed a straight face.

"He was extremely happy."

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