“The cortisone shot worked,” Max Scherzer told reporters, after the Washington Nationals beat the Houston Astros, 7-2, in Game 6 of the World Series, to send the series to Game 7 tonight in Minute Maid Park.
Scherzer, of course, was scratched hours before his planned outing in Game 5 of the series on Sunday in Nationals Park, when the 35-year-old starter’s neck locked up on him, leaving him unable to lift his right arm, much less compete in a World Series game.
After receiving the cortisone shot on Sunday and waiting for the nerve issue to subside, he was able to throw on Tuesday afternoon in the outfield in Houston, testing it out and telling his manager that he was good to go if the Nationals could win Game 6.
“That relieved the pressure on the nerve, and then keep applying heat,” Scherzer said when asked about the process that allowed him to get past the issue.
“Our chiropractor, he does amazing work, he was able to go in there and make an adjustment.
“We did two treatments of it and really freed up the neck, the C5-C6 area, along with the trap, spasm, really felt like it subsided.
“And even when I was warming up tonight I felt really good. I’m good to go.”
How long will he be able to go in Game 7, considering he couldn’t go, or even lift his arm just two days back?
“Should be good,” Scherzer said succinctly.
So, a normal start?
“It’s Game 7. Let’s go.”
Before the start of Game 6, manager Davey Martinez was asked about the possibility of using Scherzer out of the pen if he was needed with the season on the line, but he said there was no way.
“No, that’s -- I feel that will be pushing it. Like I said, he threw flat ground today after not being able to move his neck or trap for two days. I just wanted him to get through these next couple of hours and see how he feels.”
So, of course, Scherzer was spotted warming up in the bullpen late in the game last night, though he didn’t come in, and the work he did apparently won’t affect the plan to start in Game 7.
“Max is starting tomorrow,” Martinez said after the game.
“We got him up knowing that if the game is tied, or we were up a run we might have to use him.
“He wanted to go down there and just throw and get loose. We scored some more runs and I immediately shut him down.”
When all this drama started a few days back, and as bad as his neck was on Sunday, did he ever imagine he’d be able to start Game 7 if the Nationals got there?
And what were his thoughts about actually getting the opportunity now?
“I don’t know,” Scherzer said. “Everybody believes in each other in this clubhouse.
“When I couldn’t even move my right arm the other day, when I was in severe pain, I just believed in the next guy up.
“I believed in Joe Ross that he could go out there and get the job done. Unfortunately we didn’t win that game.
“But everybody had the belief in me, and the doctors, and that if I could get right I can be ready for Game 7. [Stephen Strasburg] went out there and had the game of his life. We all believed he could do that.
“We’re just playing great team ball and here we go.”
“That’s what you live for,” he said of the chance he’s getting in Game 7. “For me, I need to get in my pregame routine right now, and that’s where I’m at mentally, here we go.”