Cardinals manager Tony La Russa hasn’t confirmed his roster for the World Series against the Rangers quite yet, but he is expected to make two notable changes.
From Matthew Leach and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com comes word that Jake Westbrook will take the place of Kyle McCllelan in the Cardinals’ bullpen while Skip Schumaker is expected to replace Adron Chambers.
Westbrook was on the roster during the NLDS against the Phillies, but didn’t make an appearance. The 34-year-old right-hander posted a 4.66 ERA and 104/73 K/BB ratio over 183 1/3 innings during the regular season. He will likely function as a long man out of the bullpen during the World Series.
Schumaker went 6-for-10 with two doubles and three RBI during the NLDS against the Phillies, but missed the NLCS with an oblique strain. The 31-year-old utility man is capable of playing second base and all three outfield positions.
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.