Max Scherzer was skipped in the rotation this week due to a nagging shoulder issue, but he could end up playing a critical role for the Tigers before the end of the regular season.
According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, Scherzer played catch today without pain and is scheduled to long-toss tomorrow at full effort. The hope is that he’ll be able to throw a bullpen session Monday, setting up his return for Wednesday’s season finale against the Royals. Justin Verlander is starting today against the Twins and isn’t an option on three days’ rest, even in a do-or-die situation with the division on the line.
Via Brooks Baseball, Scherzer averaged under 92 mph on his fastball during his last start last Sunday against the Twins, down from his 94.2 mph average for the year. The 28-year-old right-hander has a 3.82 ERA and 228/52 K/BB ratio over 183 2/3 innings over 31 starts this season.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.