Tim Hudson ‘excited’ to pitch on baseball’s biggest stage

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — And Tim Hudson called his last start the most important of his life.

Five days after he made the first World Series start of his career, the Giants will turn to the veteran starting pitcher again in Wednesday night’s winner-take-all Game 7 against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

[REWIND: After 34 minutes of pain, Giants look to make history in Game 7]

Kansas City evened the series on Tuesday night by knocking around Jake Peavy and just about anyone who pitched for the Giants in a 10-0 victory in front of 40,372 at Kauffman Stadium. Peavy only recorded four outs and gave up five earned runs en route to the shortest World Series start since David Wells was knocked out of Game 3 in 2003.

Tuesday’s one-sided affair gives Hudson, 39, one more opportunity at October glory.

“When you’re a little kid in the backyard, you always think of World Series games and hitting home runs to win a Game 7 of the World Series or pitching in a big game,” Hudson said. “I’m no different than anybody else.”

Prior to last week, Hudson, who will be opposed by Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie, had gone 16 seasons, 457 regular season starts and 3,003 innings without pitching in a World Series.

[RELATED: Unheralded Guthrie takes ball for Royals in Game 7]

Though Hudson didn’t pitch poorly in Game 3, he earned the loss after surrendering three earned runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings in San Francisco. Kansas City scored a first-inning run against Hudson and built a three-run lead before their vaunted three-headed bullpen monster closed out a 3-2 win.

Hudson’s effort was strong enough that Giants manager Bruce Bochy has eliminated the idea he’ll start Madison Bumgarner on two days rest after his 117-pitch effort on Sunday.

“Huddy is our starter, and we have all the confidence in him,” Bochy said.

Bumgarner does, too.

The man who has limited Kansas City to a run in 16 innings in the World Series looks forward to watching Hudson in what could be the defining moment of a great career.

“It couldn’t be a better story for Huddy,” Bumgarner said. “I’m really excited to watch him. I know he’s prepared. He’s going to be ready.”

[RELATED: Bumgarner ready to go if needed in Game 7]

Bothered earlier this season by hip discomfort, Hudson said he felt good on Friday and has since. He didn’t deviate from his normal routine between starts and focused on mechanics in his midweek bullpen session after not feeling as sharp as he would have liked in Game 3.

Considering this is the biggest start of his life, Hudson seems as confident and prepared as he can be.

“Sixteen years in the big leagues, I finally have that chance,” Hudson said. “I mean, I’m really, really excited about it. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow and have some fun.”

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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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.