Max Scherzer: 'I'll get the ball' in Wild Card game

Chris Lingebach
September 27, 2019 - 2:40 pm

Nationals' ace Max Scherzer says he'll get the ball, "at least to start" during their Wild Card game against either the St. Louis Cardinals or Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday.

Nats GM Mike Rizzo had said Wednesday Scherzer would be their likely starter in the play-in game, but left some room for speculation that Scherzer might also be used in the regular-season finale, should the Nats need to win Sunday to secure home-field advantage.

The Nats hold a one-game edge over Milwaukee in the Wild Card standings with three games to play, but could wind up playing either St. Louis (90-69) or Milwaukee (89-70), who are still battling for the NL Central title, with the Cardinals holding a one-game lead, each with three regular-season games yet to play.

If their position in the standings holds, the Nats would host Milwaukee.

"Is there any way that you wouldn't start the play-in game at this point?" Scherzer was asked during his weekly appearance with 106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier. Scherzer has been presented to you all season long by F.H. Furr.

"I don't think so," said Scherzer. "I think we have it lined up where, how everybody's pitched, and I think that's basically how we've lined it up, is that I'll get the ball, at least to start it."

Asked about prioritizing the Wild Card game over securing home-field advantage, Scherzer said, "Honestly, the way coaches have talked and the players have talked, we kind of sat around – everybody sat around – and we just want to put our best foot forward and continue to run out the rotation and finish the the year how we have it set out, and just go forward with what our best team is."

"If we have to go on the road, we'll go on the road," he said. "We understand that, we understand what's at stake, but we feel like, with our team, we can compete with anybody, anywhere, any time. We just want to focus on what we can take care of."

If the Nats survive Tuesday, they'll advance to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS starting Thursday, a rematch of their 2016 division series.