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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Nats GM Mike Rizzo says Stephen Strasburg ‘looked sick’

Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg is not expected to start Game 4 of the NLDS despite a rainout giving him an extra day of rest, and the team insists that has to do with the pitcher being ill.

After Game 4 was postponed on Tuesday, Nationals manager Dusty Baker said Tanner Roark is still going to start the game on Wednesday with the team facing elimination. Baker said the decision was made because Strasburg is feeling “under the weather.” In an interview with “The Sports Junkies” on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday morning, Nats general manager Mike Rizzo reiterated that Strasburg is not feeling well.

Rizzo said the team didn’t wait to make a game-time decision about Game 4 because teams are required to announce a starter. He seemed to not rule out Strasburg changing his mind, though he also said he hopes the ace can be ready in time for Game 5.

At one point, Rizzo got testy with the hosts and told them to “wake up,” noting that the team would obviously have Strasburg pitch in Game 4 if they felt that gave them the best chance to win. Here’s the audio:

Baker defended Strasburg on Tuesday by saying a lot of players are feeling under the weather, possibly because of the weather change and air conditioning. The question then becomes whether any of those other players have chosen not to play.

Strasburg was 15-4 with a 2.52 ERA this season. He’s the guy you want taking the mound in an elimination game, and it looked like the Nationals got lucky when Tuesday’s game was rained out. If Roark starts and Washington loses, Strasburg better have some way of proving there was no way he could have battled through whatever illness was ailing him.

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