NLDS: Strasburg on Hold for Possible Game 5

Dusty Baker

Nationals manager Dusty Baker didn’t get greedy. With the rainout of Game 4 of the NL Division Series with the Cubs at Wrigley Field rained out on Tuesday Baker could have scratched scheduled starter Tanner Roark and gone with staff ace Stephen Strasburg instead. Strasburg, who was set for start a potential Game 5 on Thursday, would have been on his normal rest on Wednesday. There, however, were multiple factors that led to Baker’s decision to stick with Roark.

First of all, the Nationals are down 2-games-to-1 in the best-of-five series. That means they need two wins in the next two games to advanced to the NLCS against the Dodgers. That meant Roark was going to start Wednesday or Thursday. Secondly, Strasburg has been a bit under the weather, and when asked about his availability on Wednesday he indicated he would “give it all I got,” according to reports from Chicago. So instead, Strasburg will be ready to go as scheduled if the Nationals can for a Game 5, which would be played at Nationals Park.

Stephen Strasburg

Starsburg did pitch well but suffered a loss because of two unearned runs he was charged with in Game 1. Due to his assorted injuries in his career that was only the second post-season start of his career.

So the Nationals will turn to Roark, who has had recent success against the Cubs — at Wrigley Field. He has made a start at Wrigley each of the last three seasons and he 2-0, having allowed one unearned runs in the no-decision, which game in 2016.

Roark Career Game-by-Game vs. Cubs

Date Opponent Dec GS IP H R ER BB SO
8/21/2013 @ChC W 11-6 W 0 1.2 4 2 2 0 3
6/27/2014 @ChC L 7-2 L 1 6 10 4 4 1 2
7/4/2014 ChC L 7-2 L 1 7 9 4 4 1 5
5/25/2015 @ChC W 2-1 W 1 5 3 1 1 1 3
6/5/2015 ChC W 7-5 W 1 5.2 6 4 4 0 6
5/8/2016 @ChC L 4-3 ND 1 6 4 1 0 2 7
8/4/2017 @ChC W 4-2 W 1 6.1 5 2 2 3 4
Totals  4-2 6 37 41 18 17 8 30
Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta gets the call for the Cubs. He said his hamstring problems have been resolved. And Cubs players are upbeat about having Arrieta on the mound for a possible series clincher.

“I can’t wait to see Jake out there,” Kris Bryant told media members at Wrigley Field on Tuesday. “We know what he does in the post-season. It’s going to be fun.”

Arrieta, however, will be making his first appearance since Sept. 26 and was limited to three ineffective starts in September because of a recurring hamstring problem. Arrietta was 0-2 in those three starts, allowing seven earned runs in 10 1/3 innings.

Arietta Career Post-Season Log

Year Rnd Team Dec INN H R ER BB SO AVG
2015 WC ChC W  9.0  5  0  0  0  11  .167
2015 DIV ChC W  5.2  5  4  4  2  9  .227
2015 LCS ChC L  5.0  4  4  4  2  8  .211
2016 DIV ChC ND  6.0  6  2  2  1  5  .261
2016 LCS ChC L  5.0  6  4  4  0  5  .286
2016 WS ChC 2 W  11.1  5  3  3  6  15  .128
Total ERA 3.64  4-2  42.0  31  17  17  11  53  .201

The Nationals, who had made one post-season appearances in their first 43 years of existence, are in the post-season for the fourth time in six years. They, however, have not been able to enjoy their October moments. They are one loss away from elimination in the NL Division Series for the fourth time in the four appearances since 2012.

Year NL East W L Pct GB Manager Postseason
2017 1st 97 65 0.599 Dusty Baker Div Trails ChC 2-1 
2016 1st 95 67 0.586 Dusty Baker Div lost to LAD 3-2 
2015 2nd 83 79 0.512 7 Matt Williams
2014 1st 96 66 0.593 Matt Williams Div lost to SF 3-1 
2013 2nd 86 76 0.531 10 Davey Johnson
2012 1st 98 64 0.605 Davey Johnson Div lost to StL 3-2 

The Cubs have ridden their pitching staff through the first three games of the NLDS. Anthony Rizzo (.333) is the only .300 hitter in the first three games, and Kris Bryant, at .273, is the only other player above .250 in the NLDS.

Player G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG
Anthony Rizzo 3 12 1 4 1 0 1 5 0 3 0.333
Kris Bryant 3 11 2 3 1 0 0 1 1 5 0.273
Jon Jay 3 4 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.25
Albert Almora Jr. 3 5 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.2
Addison Russell 3 10 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 4 0.2
Ben Zobrist 3 11 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.182
Jason Heyward 3 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.167
Willson Contreras 3 7 1 1 0 0 1 1 4 3 0.143
Javier Baez 3 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
Ian Happ 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Kyle Hendricks 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Jon Lester 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Leonys Martin 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Jose Quintana 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Kyle Schwarber 2 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
Tommy La Stella 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
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