If the Nats are going to go down, they are going to go down with all hands on deck. It sounds like Max Scherzer will be able to pitch.
Scherzer, who was scratched from his Game 5 start due to debilitating next spasms, threw in the outfield at Minute Maid Park this afternoon. When he was done, he high-fived bullpen catcher Octavio Martinez and told reporters “I’m good” as he made his way back into the visitors’ clubhouse.
Tonight’s start is Stephen Strasburg‘s. Of that there is no question. But if Scherzer truly is good to go, he could be used out of the bullpen tonight if things are close and the situation is dire for the no-room-for-error Nationals. And, if the Nats win tonight — and assuming no relapses — Scherzer could be poised for a dramatic Game 7 start, with a fully-rested Aníbal Sánchez and, perhaps, Patrick Corbin available out of the bullpen as well. That’s about the best the Nationals could hope for, if they get that far anyway.
There hasn’t been much drama in this series so far. The home teams have lost every game, sapping most of the crowd excitement and, beyond Game 1, these games have been decided pretty early.
A return of Max Scherzer, however, could change all of that in a hurry.
On Friday evening, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced the first set of results for COVID-19 testing as part of the mandatory intake screening process under MLB’s COVID-19 Health Monitoring & Testing Plan. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics are not part of this data because their testing has not yet been completed.
There were 38 positive tests, accounting for 1.2% of the 3,185 samples collected and tested. 31 of the 38 individuals who tested positive are players. 19 different teams had one or more individuals test positive.
Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri notes that the positive test rate in the U.S. nationally is 8.3 percent. The NBA’s positive test rate was 7.1 percent. MLB’s positive test rate is well below average. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with MLB’s testing or that it’s an atypical round of testing. Rather, MLB’s testing population may more closely represent the U.S. population as a whole. Currently, because testing is still somewhat limited, those who have taken tests have tended to be those exhibiting symptoms or those who have been around others who have tested positive. If every single person in the U.S. took a test, the positive test rate would likely come in at a much lower number.
Several players who tested positive have given their consent for their identities to be made known. Those are: Delino DeShields (link), Brett Martin (link), Edward Colina, Nick Gordon, and Willians Astudillo (link). Additionally, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodríguez has not shown up to Red Sox camp yet because he has been around someone who tested positive, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.