Scherzer throws, expects to make next start (Nats win 2-0)

MIAMI - Max Scherzer says he's on track to make his next scheduled start.

Scherzer, who had to leave Saturday night's start in Milwaukee with a bruised left calf, was able to throw pitches off flat ground this afternoon with no issues. That was his first such attempt since getting hurt on the comebacker from Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw.

scherzer-gray-side-throw.jpgScherzer said he now plans to throw a regular bullpen session Wednesday afternoon, which would put him in line to start this weekend against the Phillies at Nationals Park.

"Can't imagine the start would be affected," the right-hander said.

Scherzer's turn in the rotation comes up Friday, but the Nationals do have flexibility to push him back if needed. Because A.J. Cole was called up from Triple-A Syracuse to start Monday's game against the Marlins, the club currently is going through a rotation cycle with six starters.

If Scherzer can't go Friday night, the Nationals could simply push Edwin Jackson up to pitch on normal rest. They could continue doing that through the weekend, If necessary, with Cole and Stephen Strasburg.

Update: They've completed three innings here at Marlins Park, and Strasburg continues to shut down the Miami lineup. Six days removed from his shutout of this team, he has posted three zeros to get this one started, scattering three singles along the way. Strasburg has four strikeouts, three of them on curveballs, one of them to Giancarlo Stanton, and he has thrown an economical 41 pitches so far.

The Nats have taken a 1-0 lead thanks to Adam Lind's leadoff double in the top of the second and Pedro Severino's opposite-field RBI single later in the inning.

Update II: The good news: Strasburg keeps dealing. He is through six scoreless innings on 90 pitches. And he has now thrown 26 consecutive scoreless innings, a new club record. The bad news: He spent the last two innings dealing with what appeared to be a recurrence of the right calf cramp that hindered him in Houston a couple weeks ago. He stuck it out to finish the fifth and sixth but has now been pulled for a pinch-hitter. The Nats, meanwhile, still lead 1-0 as they turn to the bullpen to close this one out.

Update III: There's a big insurance run for the Nats. It comes from Daniel Murphy, who hammered a pitch from Kyle Barraclough to right for his second homer in as many nights. Now they hold a 2-0 lead heading to the bottom of the eighth.

Update IV: Nats win 2-1. Sammy Solis, Matt Albers and Sean Doolittle combined to finish off Strasburg's latest win over the Marlins, with Doolittle giving up a harmless run in the ninth. And in the process, the Nationals' magic number is down to eight.

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