Max Scherzer has been one of the most durable pitchers in baseball since 2009, but the Washington Nationals ace is dealing with a sprained right thumb.     

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Scherzer Throws Off Mound

Tuesday, April 28

The Nationals announced Scherzer threw off a mound and threw all of his pitches on Tuesday. They also noted his next start date remains unclear.

On April 27, Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi noted the details of Scherzer‘s thumb injury:

Scherzer, 30, is 1-2 this season with a 1.26 ERA and 29 strikeouts over four starts. 

One reason that Scherzer was able to get a $210 million contract from the Nationals in the offseason is because of his consistency. The prized right-hander has made at least 30 starts in six consecutive seasons and has thrown at least 187.2 innings in five straight campaigns. 

It’s no secret that durability decreases as you get older, though The Associated Press (h/t SportsNet Canada) broke down the numbers to show how rapid the decline usually is for pitchers who sign $100-plus million contracts:

The $100 million pitchers have combined to average a 12-9 record and 3.39 ERA during the first four seasons of their deals, according to STATS. During the remaining years, they fell to a 7-7 record and 4.43 ERA.

Durability decreases dramatically, with the group averaging 205 innings in first seasons, 178 by the third year, and 132 by the fifth.

The silver lining for Washington, whether Scherzer is only out for a short time or facing a lengthy absence, is that the rotation is loaded with talent. Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg and Doug Fister would be No. 1 starters on most teams, while Gio Gonzalez had a 3.57 ERA with 162 strikeouts in 158.2 innings last year.

While Scherzer adds a different dynamic, the Nationals are one of the few teams equipped to deal with this scenario without suffering a significant drop in production.  

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