Max Scherzer has been scratched from his World Series Game 5 start Sunday against the Houston Astros with right trapezius spasms.
Instead Joe Ross will take the mound for Washington against Houston's Gerrit Cole, whom the Nationals beat 5-4 in Game 1 last Tuesday. Cole allowed five runs across seven innings in that start.
Ross pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Nats in Game 3 Friday night, allowing just one hit on 19 pitches, his only appearance this postseason.
"Before we get started, I wanted everybody to know that Max will not start today," Nats manager Dave Martinez said addressing the media before Game 5 on Sunday. "Yesterday he had a little bit of spasms in his right trap and neck. They treated it. He woke up today a lot worse. So Joe Ross will start today."
Scherzer first felt the spasms come on on Saturday and began getting treatment, which didn't take by the time he woke up early Sunday morning.
"He was in there with the training staff getting all kinds of treatment. We did all kinds of stuff and today he woke up right away, texted (head athletic trainer) Paul (Lessard) and said that he was really hurting. And if you all know Max, obviously he pitched with a broken nose, he's been hurt before, he's gotten through things and when he comes in and says that he's hurt this bad, he's hurt."
"I can tell you now that he's very upset," he said. "He wants to be out there with his teammates, but hopefully we can get him back here for either Game 6 or 7."
"Nothing. It's something totally different," he said. "It's up in his upper trap and neck."
The World Series is tied at two games apiece and, after Game 5 in Washington, shifts back to Houston for Game 6 and, if necessary, Game 7.