Nats waiting on Max's bullpen to set rotation

Ace will throw off mound on Wednesday; Signs point to Strasburg for Game 1

Nats waiting on Max's bullpen to set rotation

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have not made a determination about the order of their rotation for the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile, according to manager Dusty Baker, who said the team is waiting to see how Max Scherzer's hamstring injury responds after his scheduled bullpen session Wednesday.

Washington held its first workout Tuesday afternoon at Nationals Park, where all signs pointed to right-hander Stephen Strasburg being the favorite to take the ball for Game 1 against the Cubs on Friday night. Strasburg threw a bullpen session on Tuesday, which would put him in a line to start in two or three days. Scherzer did not initially take the field when the team began its workout, only emerging half an hour later to throw off flat ground.

• NLDS Game 1: Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET on TBS

Game Date Matchup TV/Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 6 CHC 3, WSH 0 WATCH
Gm 2 Oct. 7 WSH 6, CHC 3 WATCH
Gm 3 Oct. 9 CHC 2, WSH 1 WATCH
Gm 4 Oct. 11 WSH 5, CHC 0 WATCH
Gm 5 Oct. 12 CHC 9, WSH 8 WATCH

And while Scherzer did confirm that he was going to pitch during the NLDS, he did not know when.

• Shop NL East champs gear

"It really doesn't matter," Scherzer said. "We really haven't determined what game we're eyeing yet. The first and foremost thing is just making sure that whenever I do take the ball, I'm able to go out there and compete the way I'm able to compete."

Scherzer, one of the favorites to win the NL Cy Young Award, would have almost certainly started the opening game before he was forced to exit his last start prematurely after a hamstring injury. He has been a bit baffled by the injury during the past few days because of the few instances where it is limiting him. He is able to run, lift weights and move without issue.

"The only time you do feel anything with this injury is when you're near 100 percent throwing a baseball," Scherzer said. "It's very related to my pitching mechanics, not necessarily how I run or sprint. I just continue to get more treatment, continue to do what I need to do. Just live it day by day."

Scherzer leaves game with injury

The Nationals have the luxury of being cautious with Scherzer's injury, because Strasburg has been on one of the best streaks of his career in the second half. He was recently named the NL Pitcher of the Month for September after posting a Major League-leading 0.83 ERA in the month.

It is a bit of an interesting situation for the Nationals with a choice between aces to start in the opening game. Even if they do decided to use Strasburg in Game 1 and Scherzer can pitch the second game, they could use either pitcher on normal rest if necessary for a decisive Game 5.

Pitcher of the Month: Strasburg

First, they want to make sure Scherzer is healthy, and his bullpen Wednesday will go a long way in determining his status.

"We're trying to do everything we can to treat [the hamstring] and strengthen it," Scherzer said, "and do everything we can to make sure when I do get off a mound and when I'm pitching that this is gonna hold."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.