Nationals pick Max Scherzer, not Stephen Strasburg, as Opening Day starter


Stephen Strasburg has started Opening Day for the Nationals in each of the past three seasons, but they’re going with Max Scherzer in Game 1 this year after signing the former Cy Young winner to a $210 million deal as a free agent.

This will be the first Opening Day start of Scherzer’s career, because Justin Verlander always got the Game 1 nod in Detroit (until now, as the Tigers will go with David Price this season).

Last season Scherzer threw 220 innings with a 3.15 ERA and 252/63 K/BB ratio, while Strasburg threw 215 innings with a 3.14 ERA and 242/43 K/BB ratio. So the larger point is that the Nationals have a really, really good rotation.

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

Justin Verlander
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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.

“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.

He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.

“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.

“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”


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