2017 MLB postseason — Washington Nationals Stephen Strasburg now starting


Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg will now start Game 4 of the NLDS against the Chicago Cubs.

Nats manager Dusty Baker had said Tuesday that Strasburg was too ill to start Wednesday, and Tanner Roark would take the mound.

But the pitcher showed up at Wrigley Field singing a different tune. Sources told ESPN’s Pedro Gomez that Strasburg was on the first bus to the park and told Baker he was feeling much better and could start.

“He didn’t feel well yesterday but today maybe a new day,” Scott Boras, Strasburg’s agent, told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers in a text message.

Game 4 of the NLDS was postponed from Tuesday to Wednesday because of rain, leading to speculation that Game 1 starter Strasburg could take the mound on his regular four days’ rest. But Baker cited illness and routine in saying that he was sticking with Roark.

Baker said Tuesday that, in addition to Strasburg, several of his players were ill.

“A lot of my team is under the weather with the change of weather, and the air conditioning in the hotel, and the air conditioning here,” he said. “It’s just this time of the year for mold around Chicago — I think it’s mold. I mean, I have it too.”

Given how dominant Strasburg has been, and given the Cubs hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series, it seemed likely that Baker would opt to skip Roark and go with Strasburg on full rest.

After the All-Star break, Strasburg posted a 0.86 ERA, the second-lowest ever by a pitcher in the second half of a season (minimum 10 starts). Then, in the NLDS opener last Friday, the 29-year-old right-hander was dominant, allowing three hits and no earned runs over seven innings, striking out 10 in a 3-0 defeat.

ESPN’s Eddie Matz contributed to this report.

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