- The Washington Times
Monday, October 28, 2019

Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez said on a conference call with reporters Monday that he hadn’t yet spoken to Max Scherzer for an update on how the pitcher’s neck is feeling.

The Nationals traveled to Houston on Monday afternoon with Game 6 scheduled for Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.

After experiencing neck spasms a few days ago, Scherzer woke up Sunday to find his neck completely locked up. He received a cortisone shot sometime during the day, which is supposed to take 48 hours to fully settle in and alleviate the pain.

“As we all know Max, he’s probably going to try to push it up a little bit,” Martinezsaid. “But we want him to let the medication kick in a little bit and then see where we’re at.”

With Game 6 of the World Series being do-or-die for the Nationals, who are now down 3-2 to the Houston Astros, Stephen Strasburg will start even if Scherzer were to wake up Tuesday feeling 100% healthy again.

Scherzer’s progression over the rest of Monday and Tuesday morning could have far-reaching impacts on how Martinez uses his pitchers in Game 6. If Scherzer seems on track to start a hypothetical Game 7, will Martinez save one of his other starters, Aníbal Sánchez or Patrick Corbin, for Wednesday to relieve Scherzer in an emergency?

It’s likely that Martinez will need Sánchez or Corbin to follow Strasburg in Game 6 and pitch for an inning if the game is close, especially after reliever Daniel Hudson spent himself Sunday by throwing 36 pitches.

“Right now my focus is on Game 6,” Martinez said. “We’ve got to treat that as Game 7 right now. There won’t be Game 7 if we can’t get out of Game 6.”

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