Nationals Baseball: Setback 1

Friday, March 10, 2017

Setback 1

Dusty says it's no big deal but Scherzer won't be in a real game or a simulated game next. He'll be pitching more BP. (Here's the Post if you prefer Castillo). The Nats continue on with their "Nothing to see here" attitude, still maintaining that Scherzer, who hopes to pitch 3 innings of BP Sunday, will be ready to go all out against major league hitters in 28 days or less. Don't buy it. Scherzer should be considered a mid April return at best and with each further setback that start date gets pushed further and further back.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. For one, we can all agree we'd rather have a definitively healthy Scherzer than force him into 3-4 more starts. Also, if you are gonna miss time, April is the time to do it. The schedule makes it easy to work around that missing rotation spot. It's been noted in the comments and it's true.  Take a look at the month. You'd need a 5th starter the 8th or 9th and then you don't hit the need again probably around the 22nd. So you could almost get through the first three weeks of the season without putting a guy on the mound you don't want to see.  And one rain-out in the set of games starting on the18th nearly gives you a whole another week. Would you rather see Scherzer throw 3 times? Sure. But it's nearly as important that his starts are taken up by Stras, Roark, Ross or Gio and not Cole or whoever. That latter qualification can certainly happen.

Now the question is - why no start? They seemed pretty adamant that he would get one unless he didn't seem to handle the recovery from the first BP well. If I were to guess then I would have to say he didn't handle the recovery from the first BP well. "So is it normal soreness or is it situation?" is the quote from Dusty so we have to assume, unfortuneately, that it's a situation. What is it exactly isn't known.  It could be the finger. It could be extra fatigue. He is throwing the ball differently than he has in the past and that could matter to these finely tuned machines. If its the finger - that's bad because it suggests he can't throw without hurting it and he just needs to rest or surgery it out.  If it's fatigue then it might just mean an extra week or two to get his arm used to the changes. Thus ends the office hours of Dr. Harper.

All I can say at this point is that I hope the Nats are extra cautious with Scherzer. It's hard to see them having the ultimate success without him performing up to his level. It's also hard to see a bright immediate future for the staff if he's becomes lost to injury for a long period of time over the next few years now that the Nats have given up their best starting prospects up in trade*. If he needs an extra month or two, let him have it. Force him to have it.

*How are these guys doing? Both had questionable first outings in the Spring and better second ones. Giolito had his third outing and pitched ok.  Wild. No word on his velocity on his third outing after his first one was very worrisome and his second was more in line with how he ended last year. Lopez throws for the 3rd time today. I'd say neither look ready right now, but that doesn't matter for the White Sox.


blovy8 said...

I'm more worried about Wieters not even sniffing an at-bat yet. More worried about Strasburg's stretch experiment. More worried about how they're gonna decide who closes. More worried about Roark possibly throwing a ton of full-effort innings this season. More worried about some wild bush league pitcher hitting Murphy in the wrist for games that mean nothing.

Scherzer is throwing a lot for a guy with serious problems.

Chas R said...

DOOM :-)

Markus said...

Post idea: why do teams (and players) not wait to get fully healthy every time? Just read an interesting fangraphs piece about Matt carpenter and how he played below replacement level baseball through an injury for half a season. It looks like Bryce did the same. Why continue with poor output when the team can sub presumably replacement level play for you, so that you can come back more or less whole? Likewise for max in this situation. If he plays through this finger thing, and the mordecai grip isn't cutting it, why postpone future success? It blows my mind how common this is. I particularly get frustrated knowing that Bryce did it, and has now hit 4 hrs in what last season took him about 200 ABs to do. What gives? Is it future contract anxiety? Is it bravado tough guy "oh I'm a man I'm not injured" and then on top of that, why not admit you were injured? I don't get it.

mike k said...

Markus - to be fair, we don't know the amount of players who play through injuries just fine, and we only find out about it later (or most of the time probably not at all). The hope is probably that the slightly injured regular/star will still perform better than their healthy replacement. And most of the time, this is probably true - otherwise teams wouldn't do it.

There are definitely times where a player will play slightly injured for a few weeks, and when they're not performing well, will then go on the DL. Half a year of sub-replacement is weird, though. Bryce was certainly not sub-replacement, and definitely performed better than MAT would have as his replacement. I agree I'd rather Bryce take a month off and return healthy, than perform "at least he's better than MAT" for the whole year, but it might not have been the type of injury that rest would quickly heal.

Unknown said...

Can we start the Zimmerman hit watch?

blovy8 said...

The seven day DL might help this.

Flapjack said...

Appreciate the update on what we're missing by losing Lopez/Giolito depth. Not rooting against either of them, mind you, but Rizzo has generally been able to cut his losses when prospects falter. (Remember Alex Meyer for Denard?) But not always. Losing two top pitching prospects can be seen as price for MAT's failure to develop (because then we wouldn't have needed Eaton).

With Scherzer so iffy, it looks like Cole will have his chance to step into what will still be one of the best rotations in baseball. The rest of the team is so complete that I'll predict here that we still come out of April with a winning record.

Anonymous said...

Cole. Yuk! he even replacement level?

Mick said...

Hey Harper, do you have a patreon page or anything?