Report: Stephen Strasburg turned down Game 4 start
Stephen Strasburg was asked to start Wednesday’s Game 4 of the NLDS for the Washington Nationals and declined, according to a report.
Game 4 of the series was originally scheduled for Tuesday, with Washington’s Tanner Roark set to face Chicago’s Jake Arrieta. The Nationals are facing elimination down 2-1 in the series. The game was postponed until Wednesday because of the weather, which gave Strasburg, the Game 1 starter, an extra day to rest.
Most were shocked to find out that the Nats would be sticking with Roark on Wednesday despite Strasburg being on full rest. Nats manager Dusty Baker offered a few reasons for why Strasburg was not going to pitch, saying the ace was “under the weather” and also had thrown a bullpen which would make him available on Wednesday.
However, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale now reports that the Nationals asked Strasburg to start the game, but the pitcher declined.
From Nightengale’s story:
He told them he’s under the weather.
He informed the Nationals’ staff that he ran a half-mile Tuesday afternoon, was wheezing during his run and simply isn’t prepared to start Wednesday, even though he’d be on regular rest, according to a person with direct knowledge of the Nationals’ pitching plans.
This is an incredible development. The playoffs are a time to make history and receive glory. The postseason is when Curt Schilling pitched with blood pouring out of his ankle and when Willis Reed played through a torn muscle in the NBA Finals. Yet Strasburg is turning down the opportunity to pitch because he’s under the weather? That will not reflect well on him at all.
As for Baker, he now comes off looking much better. Many were in disbelief that he wouldn’t have had Strasburg pitch the game. Now it turns out he actually was dutifully covering for his pitcher.