For most teams facing elimination in a Division Series, a rain postponement should be a gift. For the Washington Nationals, it’s been a giant clustering mess. Stephen Strasburg pitched really well in Game 1, only to lose on unearned runs. If there had been no rainout, he would have either had to come back on short rest on Tuesday or hope that the team could extend it to a Game 5.
But with the postponement, he would pitch today on regular four days rest. But then, it came out Monday that Strasburg was sick, and that was the reason gDusty Baker said that Tanner Roark would start Game 4 today. Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post had a few questions about this.
Let’s say Strasburg is, actually, very, very sick. Work with me here.
Why, then, was he even at the ballpark Tuesday? Why would he play catch, as he did in the outfield grass as other Nats warmed up? Why would he be at Wrigley in particular? It might be known as the “Friendly Confines,” but it’s hell on visiting teams, with the tiny visitors’ clubhouse forcing players and coaches and team officials to step over and around each other just to shower or dress or grab a bite to eat.
Dusty Baker also temporarily tried to say that Strasburg was unavailable for Wednesday because he had already thrown his bullpen session on Tuesday. (It later came out that he had done that on Monday–the day he was so sick–and that was not the barrier to a Wednesday start).
So the knives have come out in this giant mess, with Strasburg being portrayed as soft or unwilling to start when not 100%.
So enter Scott Boras. His client is being questioned for his postseason toughness–and remember all the drama from five years ago when Boras made sure Strasburg was shut down at 180 innings before the playoffs?
“Hey, it’s not my client who is begging out. The team makes the call.”
And now, this just in, 8 minutes after that tweet:
So to recap:
Strasburg is too sick to go in game 4;
He also threw a bullpen session and is now unavailable;
Wait no he didn’t;
His agent says it’s the team’s decision to hold him out and he can play if healthy;
And he’s now taking the ball.