Because that wasn't bad enough,. The Rockies need a win and a Dodgers loss Sunday to clinch the NL West. They'd have to beat Scherzer to do it.
The Rockies have caught a break though. Following Saturday's game, Nationals manager Dave Martinez announced Scherzer would not start Sunday even though the game is meaningful for the Rockies. Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports has the details:
"I really feel Max did his job," manager Davey Martinez said. "He threw 220 innings. And if anybody knows Max, he gives it all he's got every time he goes out. I want to make sure that he finished up the way he did, has a healthy winter and comes back ready for 2019. I understand integrity of the game, but both (the Dodgers and Rockies) are in it. I got to take care of my player, Max."
"I was mentally ready to pitch, but I completely understand where Rizzo was coming from with this decision," the 34-year-old said. "I said from the beginning that this was his call, because of the nature of the beast that we're playing for nothing. So at the end of the day, he felt this was the best thing to do for the Washington Nationals, and that's all there really is to say."
Ultimately, the Nationals don't owe the Dodgers anything. They're not obligated to start Scherzer or even put their best foot forward Sunday. The Nationals have to do what's best for the Nationals, and having Scherzer start a meaningless game (for the Nats) on the final day of the regular season is unwise. They have to plan for 2019 and beyond. It's an unnecessary risk.
Scherzer's Cy Young case is already as strong as it's going to get. He reached 300 strikeouts in his last start and he'd have to throw 107 2/3 scoreless innings (!) to catch Jacob deGrom for the ERA title. The Cy Young isn't on the line, and besides, pitching in Coors Field is no way to strengthen a Cy Young case.
Rookie right-hander Erick Fedde will start Sunday's season finale in Scherzer's place. Fedde has a 5.24 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 10 starts and 46 1/3 innings this season. A more favorable matchup than Scherzer? Absolutely. But that hardly guarantees the Rockies a win.