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Max Scherzer will pitch Sunday vs. Giants on regular rest

Max Scherzer and Manager Dave Martinez talk during his latest incredible outing. (Alex Brandon/AP)

When the Washington Nationals placed Jeremy Hellickson on the disabled list Tuesday, they faced a decision. Because they have four days off in two weeks, the Nationals could survive without a fifth starter for two weeks, keeping their other four starters on regular rest in the process. Alternatively, they could call up Erick Fedde, insert him into the rotation and give everyone extra rest for two turns. For the moment, they have decided on the former.

The Nationals announced their starters for this weekend’s series against the San Francisco Giants, and Max Scherzer is among them, starting Sunday against Madison Bumgarner on regular rest. Stephen Strasburg will pitch Friday and Gio Gonzalez on Saturday. Because the Nationals are also off Monday, they can bring back Tanner Roark on an extra day of rest anyway. He will start the first of two games in New York against the Yankees, while Strasburg will start the second.

The decisions means Scherzer will miss the Yankees, which doesn’t actually matter but would have been an intriguing matchup all the same. Scherzer was scheduled to face their potent lineup at Nationals Park last month, though those games were rained out.

“We’re going to continue to put them as scheduled, and we’ll go from there,” Nationals Manager Dave Martinez said. “. . . I trust all these guys, no matter who we play.”

Because they will not carry a fifth starter, the Nationals will have a nine-man bullpen for the foreseeable future, a luxury they have not had this season. The extra arm, combined with the days off, should make this two-week stretch a period of recovery for their much-taxed relief corps. Sean Doolittle was the only reliever to appear Tuesday night in relief of Scherzer.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS (34-25)

Trea Turner SS

Bryce Harper RF

Anthony Rendon 3B

Matt Reynolds 1B

Juan Soto LF

Michael A. Taylor CF

Wilmer Difo 2B

Pedro Severino C

Tanner Roark P

TAMPA BAY RAYS (28-31)

Johnny Field LF

C.J. Cron 1B

Joey Wendle SS

Wilson Ramos C

Matt Duffy 3B

Brad Miller 2B

Carlos Gomez RF

Mallex Smith CF

Johnny Venters P

Read more:

Rays catcher Wilson Ramos makes his return to Nationals Park

Max Scherzer has a bounce in his step. It’s because of the Capitals.

Immaculate inning highlights Max Scherzer’s latest dominant outing against Rays

In attempt to ‘get him right,’ Nationals will keep Daniel Murphy on rehab assignment

After 2,016 straight games, Nationals broadcaster ends his iron-man streak

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