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Max Scherzer confirmed to start Game 7 of World Series

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It’s official: Max Scherzer will start Game 7 of the World Series for the Nationals against the Astros’ Zack Greinke. Scherzer said the cortisone shot he received worked, making him well enough to make the start on Wednesday night with everything on the line.

Scherzer, 35, was scratched from his scheduled Game 5 start due to neck and trapezius muscle spasms. The three-time Cy Young Award winner, who pitched with a broken nose earlier this season, said he couldn’t even lift his arm and needed his wife to help him get dressed.

Scherzer threw on the field at Minute Maid Park prior to Game 6 on Tuesday night, declaring, “I’m good.” As in, “good to go.” If Scherzer hadn’t been well enough to pitch, the Nationals would have relied on Aníbal Sánchez. Sánchez is not to be discounted, but he’s also not Max Scherzer. In 25 innings this postseason, Scherzer has allowed just six runs on 14 hits and 11 walks with 34 strikeouts. Sánchez has a 4.06 ERA in 31 innings in the playoffs to date.

Presumably, Scherzer will be pitching with no limitations, but expect the Nationals to have all hands on deck, including Sánchez and Patrick Corbin. Maybe even Stephen Strasburg after throwing 104 pitches in a gem on Tuesday. On the other hand, manager Dave Martinez will need an abundance of courage and no concern for his own safety to try to take Scherzer out of a World Series Game 7.

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.