HOUSTON - It’s all come down to this: a historic World Series Game 7, where either Washington snags its first Commissioner’s Trophy in the franchise’s history, or Houston’s second championship title sets the stage for a possible dynasty.
The Astros have won three games in a row this series, but after being shut down by a spectacle like Juan Soto running to first base with the bat still glued to his hand following an unforgettable home run, it appears Houston may need to reevaluate things.
That is especially so since Washington manager Dave Martinez confirmed that three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer is set to start this winner-take-all Game 7.
“Max is starting tomorrow,” Martinez said. “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.”
Unable to pitch Game 5 on Sunday night because of nerve irritation near his neck that required an injection, all eyes are on Scherzer to see if a cortisone shot is all it takes for Washington to go the distance.
“The cortisone shot worked. That relieved the pressure on the nerve,” Scherzer said. “Everybody has the belief in me and the doctors that I could get right and be ready,” he said.
Scherzer tossed in the outfield before Game 6 — a 7-2 win by the Nationals — and even loosened up in the bullpen in the seventh inning Tuesday night.
While the Nationals made a valiant effort to push for an extended series, the return of “Mad Max” Scherzer might not be enough for a game that Houston’s Justin Verlander is calling “a Game 7, all hands on deck.”
All hands includes Houston’s Zack Greinke who will start Wednesday night for the Astros making it the first time two former Cy Young Award winners face off as starting pitchers in Game 7 of the World Series.
This is the first time two former Cy Young Award winners face off as starting pitchers in Game 7 of the World Series.
Greinke gave up one run over 4 2/3 innings in his first World Series start when the Astros took Game 3. Acquired from Arizona at the trade deadline, the six-time All-Star is 0-2 with a 5.30 ERA in four starts this postseason.
Scherzer is 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA this postseason in four starts and one relief appearance.
The Nationals will attempt their ultimate comeback in a year when they were written off time after time, hoping for the first title in the 51-season history of a franchise that started as the Montreal Expos and the first for Washington since the Senators in 1924.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.