Tonight's World Series Game 5 between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros was billed as an ace showdown between the Nats' Max Scherzer and the Astros' Gerrit Cole. Earlier today, it was announced that Scherzer will not be able to go.
The three-time Cy Young winner has dealt with back spasms this season. It cost him a large chunk of time early in the year.
Now, the issues have returned at the worst possible time for Scherzer. Joe Ross, who made nine starts and pitched to a 5.48 ERA this season, will face Cole in his place.
Scherzer arrived ahead of the game today to speak to the media, and according to reports, he was clearly uncomfortable and had limited mobility due to the issues.
He said that it would be "impossible" to pitch through things today, something he's done in the past.
According to Scherzer, what seemed like a minor issue got significantly worse ahead of his scheduled start.
This really throws the series into flux for the Nats. Max Scherzer picked up the win over Cole in Game 1, allowing two earned runs in five innings, striking out seven Astros in the 5-4 road win.
Cole wasn't terrible in that Game 1 loss for Houston, but it was his worst outing in months. If he's his normal self in Washington today, this will be a real uphill battle for Washington, which opened the series by winning the first two games in Houston, but have dropped back-to-back games at home.
The Nationals hope that Scherzer can go in Game 7, if the series gets that far.