2016 NLDS: Nationals’ Max Scherzer Calls Game 5 ‘Biggest Start’ Of Career
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

With the Los Angeles Dodgers forcing a Game 5 in their National League Division Series matchup with the Washington Nationals, Max Scherzer gets an opportunity to help send his team to the NL Championship Series.

Washington elected against bringing Scherzer back for Game 4, which puts him on five days’ rest for Thursday’s start. The Dodgers’ hand was forced on Tuesday, meaning the winner-take-all contest will not be another showdown with Clayton Kershaw.

Instead, he faces another southpaw in Rich Hill, who is taking the mound on short rest. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the club will use a “collection of arms.”

Like Hill, Scherzer is looking forward to Game 5, and not shying away from its significance. “I’ve said it a handful of times throughout my career,” he said, “this is the biggest start of my career.

“How you handle that, going out there and using the emotion of that scenario, everything is on the line. Look, I’m not going to shy away from it. This is the biggest start of my career.”

Scherzer allowed four runs of five hits, including two home runs, over six innings in Game 1. He wasn’t particularly sharp early, and one of the homers allowed came on a hanging curveball to Justin Turner.

Including his first start in the current series, the right-hander is 4-4 with a 3.93 ERA in 13 postseason games (11 starts). However, Scherzer owns a 7.20 ERA in elimination games, and his teams are 0-3.