Although they seemed to hold out hope on Max Scherzer’s hamstring for a good long while, the Nationals have given it up, and conceded that the likely Cy Young winner – 2.51 ERA, 6.0 WAR – won’t be starting Game One of the NLDS.
Instead, it’ll merely be the guy with a mere 2.52 ERA and 5.6 WAR:
Dusty Baker says Stephen Strasburg will start Game 1. No word on Games 2 and 3.
— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) October 5, 2017
By WAR, Strasburg was second only to Scherzer in the NL this year, and by ERA, he was just behind Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw. By FIP, Strasburg was the best in the NL.
That is all to say, in Game One, specifically, I’m not sure how much the Nats lose by going from Scherzer to Strasburg. Of course, if they were choosing, they would have wanted Scherzer, who seems to be able to work at his best a little deeper into games than Strasburg. So I’ll still call it a mild win.
As for Strasburg, there aren’t much in the way of flaws in his game these days, as he handles both lefties and righties well, and he works with four above-average pitches. The dude is just good across the board, and he didn’t even get bit by the home run bug like every other pitcher this year. In six of his last seven starts, he didn’t allow a single earned run. Yowsa.