Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer won’t pitch in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night because he has been dealing with back tightness since his June 30 start in Detroit, he said Sunday afternoon.
Scherzer, 34, felt stiffness during his eight-inning stint in a win against the Tigers and said it hasn’t gone away over the past week. He felt it again Saturday as he struck out 11 in a 6-0 win over the Kansas City Royals.
Since May 22, Scherzer has been dominant. He has racked up 94 strikeouts in 64 innings, allowing 40 hits and nine walks. His ERA during that span is 0.84. He said he sees the break as a four-day period to rest before the Nationals start the second half of the season Friday night in Philadelphia. Combined with his usual rest, that will give him more than a week off.
“It’s probably not smart for me to be pitching in the All-Star Game,” Scherzer said. “It really couldn’t happen at a better time, where I can get some rest on eight days now. I need some rest right now to let this thing fully heal up so that I’m completely good to go for the second half.
“Our season matters so much more than the All-Star Game,” he added. “This was an opportunity to gain rest, [not] pitch in the All-Star Game.”
Scherzer and Manager Dave Martinez met with General Manager Mike Rizzo after Scherzer’s outing Saturday. Scherzer said Sunday he was still feeling stiffness in his back, though he added he was confident the issue would not impact his next start.
He said he will attend the Home Run Derby on Monday and the All-Star Game on Tuesday with his wife, Erica, and daughter, Brooke. Scherzer missed two games this week as he and Erica welcomed their second daughter, Kacey.
“The All-Star Game couldn’t come at a better time for him,” Martinez said. “He’ll get eight days now to recoup and get ready for his next start.”
Martinez added that he was not worried about Scherzer’s back stiffness affecting his timetable following the break, saying: “Right now, I don’t have much concern. He’s got eight days. We’ll see where we’re at then. He’s been awesome. I think the days off will do him good.”
The Nationals and Royals, who are 30 games under .500, square off Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park. Lefty Patrick Corbin, who is 7-5 with a 3.55 ERA, will start in the final game before the break.
Kansas City Royals (30-60)
Whit Merrifield, CF
Adalberto Mondesi, SS
Alex Gordon, LF
Hunter Dozier, 3B
Jorge Soler, RF
Cheslor Cuthbert, 1B
Nicky Lopez, 2B
Martin Maldonado, C
Jakob Junis, RHP
Washington Nationals (46-42)
Trea Turner, SS
Adam Eaton, RF
Anthony Rendon, 3B
Juan Soto, LF
Matt Adams, 1B
Brian Dozier, 2B
Victor Robles, CF
Yan Gomes, C
Patrick Corbin, LHP
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