Does anybody know what’s going on here with Stephen Strasburg, the former and now current Game 4 starter for the National League Division Series?
While we wait, note that Cubs Manager Joe Maddon’s spidey-sense went off sometime Tuesday night.
Joe Maddon said he had an “inkling” Strasburg would start today when he left the ballpark last night. No intel. Just a hunch.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) October 11, 2017
Rizzo is up first.
It’s a Strasmas miracle. The pitcher, Rizzo said, came in at around 8 a.m. and said he felt better and wanted to pitch. He’d called pitching coach Mike Maddux and, when he got to the ballpark, “looked closer to the Stephen Strasburg we all know.”
The final call is up to the player, but “he felt he should pitch this game,” Rizzo said, when Strasburg felt as good as he did Wednesday. he denied a USA Today report that Strasburg didn’t want to pitch Game 4.
Rizzo said the final call is on the pitcher but denied report Strasburg declined to pitch. Said they had decided Roark was better option.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) October 11, 2017
A lot of the decision “had to do with Tanner Roark. … We felt that Tanner was a better option than going with a depleted Stephen Strasburg” until it was clear he was better.
Strasburg, Rizzo says, was at the ballpark getting treatment and fluids. “As of today, we switched Stras’s antibiotics.” He had a fever, chills and acute sinusitis and was receiving anti-inflammatories as well as IVs.
Asked what happens if Strasburg gets crushed, Rizzo said bringing in Roark is a possibility. “All hands on deck,” Rizzo said. “We’ll worry about Game 5 after we win this one.”
“I don’t think Stephen Strasburg cares what the media thinks about him or says about him. He wanted the ball because he wants to win this game.”
Rizzo, on if teammates pressured Stras: "No. He felt obligated when he felt as good as he feels today. He felt much more like himself."— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) October 11, 2017
Baker echoes Rizzo, not surprisingly, and said Strasburg “seems very determined.”
“He seemed more focused than normal,” he said, “and said, ‘I’m feeling a whole lot better and I want the ball.’ That was the gist of the conversation.”
Baker plans to treat this like a normal start “unless we see signs of fatigue.”
Dusty said he knew "under the weather" was a broad term, but "I didn't feel the need to tell everyone how sick he was."— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) October 11, 2017
Roark may have been disappointed, but was “ready to pitch and I’m sure he was disappointed, but he didn’t say too much.” The Game 5 starter remains to be seen.
There may have been plenty of internet jabber about Strasburg’s fortitude, but that didn’t factor into his decision to take the ball. “He’s a grown man and he made that decision on his own. He wasn’t pressured at all that I know of.” Was there any from coaches or teammates? “Nooooooo,” Baker said.
Strasburg had thrown as scheduled on the side and Baker was asked about the wisdom of that, given that he was so sick. “Hey, man, sometimes you go to work feeling less than 100, these guys are professionals. … I can’t tell you the number of times I went out there with a fever. … This is kind of the life of a pro.”
Strasburg is “a good 90 percent” right now and “usually, that’s pretty good.”