Last Updated: 2019-10-28
The Washington Nationals were going to have a hard enough time coming back from the devastation of having lost their home field advantage to the Houston Astros and staring aces Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander in the face.
But having to go about that quest without a three-time Cy Young winner was going to make things extraordinarily difficult.
It may have been a little shocking for those looking to back the Nats in Game 5 of this World Series to find that Scherzer had taken himself out of his start, with Joe Ross having to come in on an emergency basis.
As BetAnySports patrons are well aware, that’s not where you want to be in the Fall Classic.
Scherzer had no choice. He had been feeling some pain in the trapezius, behind the shoulder. And after trying to loosen it up for a couple of days, he woke up on game day to find that he couldn’t move his right arm at all.
He eschewed a cortisone shot on Saturday because he thought he might be able to work out his problem. When that didn’t work, he finally consented to the shot on Sunday afternoon. That wasn’t going to provide an immediate solution, since these kinds of injections generally take around 48 hours to really have an effect.
That leaves him relatively useless to the Nationals out of the bullpen in a do-or-die Game 6 (Tuesday night, 8:07 PM ET on Fox at Houston), the significance being that with such an uncertain ‘pen, Washington might be looking for any port in a storm as a matter of pure survival.
But there is at least some hope that he could pitch in Game 7, if the series gets there. A starting assignment doesn’t sound likely – they would probably use Anibal Sanchez – but if they could get a few innings out of him, and Scherzer felt good, he could actually find himself in a hero’s role.
But again, they have to get there. And they have to do it on the road against one of the best in the game, Justin Verlander.
Taking a look at the World Series betting odds at BetAnySports, infused with reduced juice, the Astros are a considerable favorite for Tuesday night’s Game 6:
Houston Astros (Verlander) -170
Washington Nationals (Strasburg) +163
Under 7.5 Runs -115
Over 7.5 Runs +105
Astros -1.5 Runs +130
Nats +1.5 Runs -140
Honestly, you have to wonder whether something hadn’t been bothering Scherzer – subtle as it might have been – for a while. In the regular season, he had been stingy with walks, having issued an average of only 1.73 per nine innings. But in the post-season, that ballooned to 4.13. Admittedly that is a small sample. But it might be telling. And Scherzer hadn’t finished the season with a flourish.
And isn’t it kind of ironic that Stephen Strasburg – he of the $15 million signing bonus as the #1 draft pick – was the guy who was held out the first time the Nats made it to the post-season, as he was “shut down,” but now he may have to come up with an iron man-like performance just to keep things alive?
So is he equal to the task? Yes he is; in this post-season, he’s come up aces (pardon the pun), with a 1.93 ERA and 40 strikeouts with TWO walks in 28 innings. His playoff ERA is 1.34, so he does anything BUT wilt under the pressure. At the very least, he’ll give his team a chance.
And can we expect that the Nats can score more than the single run they’ve played in each of the last three games? We sure hope so.
We’d like to see a Game 7 where Scherzer, who’s been so great over the years, will have a chance to come up big, instead of “shouldering” the burden of a bitter defeat.
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