David Freese left last night’s game with a calf injury and Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch writes that the Cardinals third baseman may be unavailable for Game 4 tonight.
Freese and general manager John Mozeliak expressed optimism that the injury isn’t a major one, but will the Cardinals want to play with a 24-man roster for the remainder of the NLCS? They could replace Freese on the roster, but doing so would make him ineligible for the World Series.
Obviously any team would rather play with a 24-man roster for 3-4 games than play a World Series without a key regular, but even if Freese’s injury were a standard two-week, disabled list-stint variety he’d miss most of the World Series anyway. At the very least Daniel Descalso seems likely to be in the lineup at third base against the Dodgers tonight.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.