Nationals’ Scherzer (neck spasms) out, Ross in for Game 5

Washington Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer will not start Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night in Washington because of back and neck spasms, leaving right-hander Joe Ross to start in his place, manager Dave Martinez said.

Scherzer was a late scratch less than four hours before the first pitch. The timing of the injury is particularly difficult for the Nationals, who are tied 2-2 in the series after dropping back-to-back games at home to the Houston Astros.

Martinez said Scherzer woke up with spasms on Saturday and then “locked up” on Sunday.

“He had — yesterday he had a little bit of spasms in his right trap and neck,” Martinez said in his press conference prior to Game 5. “They treated it. He woke up today a lot worse.

“And if you all know Max, obviously he pitched with a broken nose, he’s been hurt before, he’s gotten through things. When he comes in and says he’s hurt this bad, he’s hurt. And I can tell you now he’s very upset. He wants to be out there with his teammates. But hopefully we can get him back here for either Game 6 or 7.”

The 26-year-old Ross has made one appearance this postseason. He pitched two innings of scoreless relief and gave up one hit in Game 3 of the World Series.

Before that appearance, Ross last pitched Sept. 29, allowing one run on four hits in six innings in a start against the Cleveland Indians. He went 4-4 with a 5.48 ERA in 27 games (nine starts) during the regular season.

Scherzer, 35, is 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA (six earned runs in 25 innings) during this postseason. He picked up the victory in Game 1 of the World Series when he gave up two runs and five hits over five innings.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)