WRIGLEY FIELD – First, it appeared Dusty Baker was making another bad managerial move by sticking with Tanner Roark over Stephen Strasburg. Now, it looks to be an organizational mistake. Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo met with the media before Game 4 to try and clarify the decision-making process of eventually naming Strasburg the starter.
“At the time of the rainout Tuesday when we were going to announce our starter for the rain game, we went to Stras and he said, he told me he wanted to take the ball. He said, I’ll give you everything I’ve got, but he doesn’t know how much he has.”
Rizzo explained that Strasburg hasn’t felt well over the past few days and that he’s been on an “antibiotic regimen, anti-inflammatories, and fluid IV’s.”
Apparently Strasburg woke up Wednesday morning, felt better, and decided he could pitch. The team insists that public pressure has no bearing on the decision. Which I don’t think is a complete lie, but you have to think the outrage on Twitter had to have played a role into it.
Rizzo denied a USA Today report that said Strasburg declined the opportunity to start.
“The statement was inaccurate, which many, many statements that have been about this subject have been inaccurate. If you’re alluding to the fact that – did the media pressure him into starting this; I don’t think Stephen Strasburg cares about what the media thinks about him or says about him.”
After the rain out, Dusty Baker should have just said that Strasburg was sick and that if he feels better in the morning, he will start. A vague “under the weather” statement did them no good.
This is a mess for the Nationals, and it’s done nothing to help their chances down 2-1. Unless Strasburg pulls off something incredible in Game 4, the Nats’ will be facing another early postseason exit. Advantage, Cubs.
Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720