Update: Boston made it official, placing Youkilis on the 60-day disabled list to open up a roster for Clay Buchholz prior to Wednesday’s game.
Kevin Youkilis hasn’t officially been ruled out for the playoffs if the Red Sox end up winning the Wild Card, but manager Terry Francona indicated today that he’s not expecting to have him back in the lineup before 2012.
“The writing is kind of on the wall,” Francona told Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. “I don’t think you’re going to see him play again. I wish he would, and he’s tried so hard and he’s been open to doing anything. I just don’t know that’s going to happen.”
Youkilis hasn’t played since September 15 because of hip bursitis and a sports hernia, which he’ll need surgery to fix at some point during the offseason. In his absence Jed Lowrie and Mike Aviles have split time at third base, but not being able to count on Youkilis’ middle-of-the-order bat is a tough break for Boston.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.