The Nationals have announced that Max Scherzer will be unable to start Game 5 of the World Series. Reliever Joe Ross will face the Astros and Gerrit Cole.
Stunning news came out of Washington DC this afternoon with the Nationals announcing that Max Scherzer is experiencing pain and spasms in his neck and upper back in the vicinity of his right shoulder. He will miss today’s Game 5 against the Houston Astros. They currently plan to have him travel to Houston and possibly be available for Game 7 if necessary.
Astros manager AJ Hinch was made aware of the lineup change when Alex Bregman came into Hinch’s office to show him an alert he had received on his iPhone. A little later he got the official word from Dave Martinez. Hinch stated that he had no problems with the timing of the announcement by the Nationals.
"“They were top end across the board. Exactly how you would expect them to let us know,” Hinch said. via Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle"
Hinch indicated that the Astros won’t take this game any differently and will not be “taking any high fives”. They’ll just have to replan and focus on facing Joe Ross instead.
The Nationals will have to change plans and resort to a bullpen game of their own. Reliever Joe Ross is slated to get the start in Scherzer’s spot. Ross has appeared in the 2019 postseason just once, pitching two scoreless innings in Game 3 against the Astros.
His only other postseason experience in his career was facing the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2016 NLDS. In that game, he allowed four earned runs, three hits, and a home run in 2.2 innings of work.
This is the fifth season for Ross who carries a career 4.29 ERA and a 1.366 WHIP. This season has been the worst of his career sporting a 5.48 ERA and a lofty 1.672 WHIP in 27 games, both career highs.
Even though Hinch won’t say it, this has got to give the Astros a huge advantage with Gerrit Cole basically facing the Nationals bullpen, which happened to be the worst in the Major Leagues.