With yesterday’s rainout, the Nationals were in position to change their starter to Stephen Strasburg if he was healthy. “If” is the operative word here. In the last 18 hours the rumors and innuendo have reached a fever pitch. As of this moment, Tanner Roark is officially starting but our sources said “stand-by” and it looks like Stephen Strasburg will indeed by the starting pitcher. There was this news from Jon Morosi that broke earlier:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) October 11, 2017
Minutes before that tweet was this from Jon Heyman:
nats still hopeful Strasburg can pitch. will evaluate him at park. had flu symptoms yesterday.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 11, 2017
Then came this tweet from a Cubs beat writer:
Strasburg on Nats' lineup card, Heyward for Schwarber
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) October 11, 2017
Stephen Strasburg looks now to be the Nationals starter and no matter who pitches today for the Washington Nationals, they find themselves behind 2-games-to-1 in the best-of-5 series which means today is an elimination game for the Nationals. If the Cubs win today, the series is over. We are at the point that the Nats were in for the 2014 NLDS where game #4 was an elimination game. It is win or go home as they say. The Nats choose to win, but they must find their offense. Except for the 5-run 8th inning on Saturday, the Nationals have scored a total of 2 runs in this entire series. The Cubs have scored just 8 total runs in this series, but that was good enough for 2 wins on their ledger. The pitching has been fantastic overall for both teams. The strategy however has been lacking at times.
The Nationals are batting .121 as a team, and 0-for-12 in the lead-off. Some of the credit goes to the Cubs for how they have pitched to the Nats and how they have positioned against the Nationals and also for several exceptional defensive plays.
By the way, the Cubs are batting .179 as a team with Anthony Rizzo batting .333 with 5 RBIs. Of his 5 RBIs, 3 of them have come in RISP spots where all 3 times first base was open like it was last night. Dusty Baker was questioned about his strategy to pitch to Rizzo instead of Contreras and Dusty said again that he didn’t want to put another runner on base and Contreras is also a good hitter. Contreras is batting .143 in the series and only has one hit. Continue reading