Huge news out of Washington late this afternoon: Max Scherzer, scheduled Game 5 starter of the Nationals, has been scratched due to neck spasms.
Scherzer had apparently been suffering from neck pain for a few days but it was much worse this morning. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said a few moments ago that Scherzer is “in ungodly pain.” Given how hard it is to take the ball from the uber-intense Scherzer on most occasions, you have to imagine the pain is, indeed, immense.
In Scherzer’s place: Joe Ross. Which, I’m sure even Ross would acknowledge, is a massive downgrade from Scherzer. Ross has only pitched one game in the postseason, tossing two shutout innings in relief in Game 3. In the regular season he started nine games and relieved in 18, posting a 5.48 ERA.
With the series now, effectively, a best two-out-of-three, losing Max Scherzer is, potentially, a gigantic blow to the Nationals. For it not to be, Ross will have to pitch the game of his life.