Scherzer was scratched from Sunday’s Game 5 start due to neck and trapezius muscle spasms. The pain was so bad that Scherzer said he couldn’t lift his arm and needed his wife to help him get dressed.
Some, including at least one writer who has had a Hall of Fame vote, have questioned Scherzer’s toughness. However, it takes a lot to keep Scherzer off of the mound. The right-hander pitched against the Phillies with a broken nose back in June — and was quite effective, tossing seven shutout innings with 10 strikeouts. Scherzer is arguably the last player in the game whose toughness can be called into question.
Scherzer went five innings in his Game 1 start against the Astros, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks with seven strikeouts. Across the entirety of the postseason, he has compiled a 2.16 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 11 walks in 25 innings of work.
Stephen Strasburg will start Game 6 opposite Justin Verlander. If the Nationals are able to win, and Scherzer still isn’t well enough to pitch, Aníbal Sánchez would be on regular rest to start Game 7. Patrick Corbin threw 96 pitches in a subpar Game 4 start but is likely to be used out of the bullpen as needed in Game 6 and, if necessary, Game 7.