Major League Baseball's postseason is months away, but the Washington Nationals are trying to plan ahead.
Max Scherzer is expected to return from his back injury and rejoin the Nationals' rotation Thursday against the visiting Colorado Rockies.
Barring any setbacks, Scherzer will make his first start since July 6, manager Davey Martinez said, according to Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports.
The club apparently considered having Scherzer open the weekend series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, but Thursday's start lines Scherzer's schedule up for more important late-season contests, including a potential wild-card game. The timing also lines the seven-time All-Star up for every remaining series against top division rivals, Zuckerman adds.
The competitive Scherzer has been itching to get back on the mound.
"You guys know Max," Martinez said, according to The Athletic's Brittany Ghiroli. "He wants to pitch today, tomorrow, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday."
The Nationals currently sit 6 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves for first in the NL East with a 52-46 record. If the regular season ended today, the Nationals would hold the first wild-card spot.
Scherzer was having a Cy Young-caliber season prior to his injury. The 34-year-old is 9-5 with a 2.30 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 181 strikeouts in 129 1/3 innings.