Will Max Scherzer’s Injury Give The Chicago Cubs An Advantage Over The Nationals?

The Major League Baseball postseason is in full swing with the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals slated for Game 2 of the 2017 National League Division Series. First pitch at Nationals Park is at 5:38 p.m. EST, but the Nationals won’t have ace pitcher Max Scherzer on the mound as originally expected. Instead, left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez takes the hill against Chicago Cubs’ left-hander Jon Lester.

Many baseball experts and fans are speculating that Max Scherzer’s hamstring injury, which is just the latest incident in an injury-plagued season, puts the Chicago Cubs at a distinct advantage over the Washington Nationals. After all, if the Cubs win again tonight, Scherzer will be tasked with preventing Chicago from sweeping the Nationals out of the 2017 MLB postseason.

Game 1 Recap

Yesterday’s matchup of Nationals’ pitcher Stephen Strasburg versus Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks showcased exactly how difficult the rest of this series might be for Washington. Although Stephen Strasburg put on a masterful three-hit performance and gave up zero earned runs, the Washington Nationals managed to lose 3-0. This was mainly due to the combination of third baseman Anthony Rendon’s costly error in the sixth inning and emerging Cubs ace Kyle Hendricks’ stellar pitching.

Game 2 Preview

Because Max Scherzer’s hamstring injury is still causing too many problems for him to pitch, the Washington Nationals have no choice but to give the ball to someone else today. Gio Gonzalez will start, but everyone at the Nationals’ head office will most likely be holding their collective breath in fear of how badly this decision could turn out.

If this was the first five months of the season, there’d be no reason to feel concerned. Since then, however, Gonzalez has started to fall apart. During his last four regular season starts, Gio Gonzalez amassed a groan-inducing 6.75 ERA. Therefore, everyone in Nationals Nation must currently be wondering which Gonzalez will show up tonight; the one with ace potential, or the one who will give the Chicago Cubs an excellent chance to win?

On Chicago’s side, MLB postseason veteran Jon Lester looks to continue his playoff dominance. To date, he’s pitched in just over 133 postseason innings and holds a commanding 2.63 ERA, along with a 9-7 record. Lester was strong against the Nationals in two starts this season, but both games ended with the left-hander receiving a no-decision.

Pitcher Jon Lester Chicago Cubs

Looking Ahead To Game 3

Will Max Scherzer truly be ready for Game 3 of the 2017 National League Division Series? This matchup is scheduled for Monday, October 9, at 4:08 p.m. EST. Scherzer has completed a side session, but his last time on the mound was September 30 when an injury caused him to leave after only 3.1 innings. Scherzer also landed on the DL in August with a neck injury that kept him out of the rotation for two weeks.

Jose Quintana Chicago Cubs

Meanwhile, Chicago Cubs’ left-handed pitcher Jose Quintana appears well-poised to make his MLB postseason debut on Monday. Quintana put together a respectable season, but if Scherzer is healthy, the Washington Nationals will have the clear advantage for Game 3. Without Max Scherzer at the top of his game, though, the advantage shifts to the Chicago Cubs, who then become highly likely to defeat the Washington Nationals, winning their 2017 National League Division Series.

[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]