Davey Martinez didn’t want to entertain Game 7 speculation when there won’t be one unless the Washington Nationals win Game 6 tonight in Houston.
Asked who would start a potential seventh game with the Astros if Max Scherzer, who was scratched from Game 5 late with what he described as a nerve issue in his neck*, can’t bounce back to take the mound, Martinez said it wasn’t the most pressing concern.
“You know, right now my focus is on Game 6. We’ve got to treat that as Game 7 right now. There won’t be a Game 7 if we can’t get a Game 6. So our focus is winning tomorrow and go 1-0 and go from there.”
He didn’t have an update on Scherzer either.
“I haven’t yet spoken to Max today,” Martinez said on Monday afternoon, after Joe Ross started in Scherzer’s place in a 7-1 loss to the Astros on Sunday night.
“Waiting for him to get here. So hopefully he’s a little bit better. We’ll see and I’ll talk to him and have more information sometime later today or tomorrow.”
The second-year skipper told reporters after Houston’s third straight win in the nation’s capital that if Scherzer can start on Wednesday night he will.
“He’s going to figure something out,” Martinez said. “Right now I don’t know his status. I’ll find out when I go back in. But he’s going to try to and get himself ready.”
“He was upset,” Martinez said at another point in his post game press conference. “Max is very -- he likes to talk. He’s very competitive. Today was the first time I think since I’ve known him that he didn’t say much. He was quiet. And I knew that he was in pain.”
Scherzer received a cortisone shot on Sunday, which doctors told him takes 48 hours or so to do its work.
“Yeah, that’s what the doctors believe, with this nerve irritation, that they think, with the cortisone shot in there, that the neck can take -- and 48 hours really helps decide the pain that’s being alleviated -- alleviate the pain from that neck nerve that’s in my neck right now that’s all pinched up.
“So for me, I’m just hoping that the doctors are right and that something could be possible for Game 7.”
As for Game 6? Scherzer’s manager, not surprisingly, said he likes the Nationals’ chances of playing two in Minute Maid Park.
“We have Stephen Strasburg on the mound, who has been unbelievable for us this year. The guys feel good. We were talking last night after the press conference, and they’re all upbeat. They don’t think that this -- this is way far from over. But like I said, they’re going to rest, get ready to play tomorrow, and win tomorrow.”
[ed note - “ * = Here’s Max Scherzer’s description of the issue he’s dealing with from Sunday afternoon which required us to add this footnote to explain our inability to precisely describe the issue. He was asked if the problem was related to the issues he dealt with during two IL stints this summer...
Reporter: “Do the doctors know if this is related at all to the back issues and the movements? Is there any way to tell? Is there anything this will need after the World Series?
MAX SCHERZER: “No, the back issues are more, I’d say more like the -- it’s lower back part, more the trap, lat -- not trap, low trap and lat. Where it’s pinching on the bottom of the scap. That’s where a lot of those problems are coming from. This is more on the top part of the neck. It’s more the nerve irritation in the C5, C6 area where that’s pinched up and causing neck spasms.
“So I really don’t believe that the back issue I dealt with in the middle of the year really has anything to do with it. Plus I’ve dealt with other little neck spasm, little issues in the past, as well, both on the right and left side and I’ve always been able to kind of address it and keep it from really getting out of hand, unfortunately this one got of hand.”]