MLB playoffs: Nationals' Kurt Suzuki will be 'ready to go' for NLCS after being struck in face by pitch

Thanks to a thrilling comeback, the Nationals beat the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLDS on Wednesday night (WAS 7, LAD 3), and punched their ticket to the NLCS for the first time since 1981 when they were the Montreal Expos.

There was a scary moment in Game 5: Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki was struck in the face by a pitch in the seventh inning. The Walker Buehler fastball, which was clocked at 94.4 mph, deflected off Suzuki's hand and up into his face. Here's the video:

Suzuki was removed from the game and was able to walk off the field under his own power. The C-flap on his helmet may have saved him from a more direct hit rather than a glancing blow.

On Friday, Nationals manager Dave Martinez confirmed Suzuki avoided a major injury. X-rays on both his hand and face came back negative. "He should be ready to go tomorrow," Martinez said, referring to NLCS Game 1 in St. Louis.

Suzuki, 36, started Games 2-5 of the NLDS behind the plate after Yan Gomes started Game 1. The veteran backstop hit .264/.324/.486 with 17 homers in 85 regular season games. 

The Nationals will take on the Cardinals in the NLCS. After finishing with a better regular season record, the NL Central champion Cardinals hold home-field advantage over the wild-card Nationals.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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