The Nationals have reversed course on yesterday’s announcement that Tanner Roark would take the ball for this afternoon’s win-or-go-home NLDS Game 4. Instead, star righty Stephen Strasburg will make the start against the Cubs after indications were that he’d be unavailable due to illness. President of baseball operations Mike Rizzo says that Strasburg offered to pitch last night, but at the time seemed too ill to go. (Via MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, on Twitter.) After a more aggressive treatment, though, Strasburg reported feeling better this morning and asked for the nod.
Much of the story here lies in the backdrop of yesterday’s rainy-day drama and the longer-running narratives surrounding Strasburg, which Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post broke down perfectly this morning before the change of direction. Needless to say, the stakes are now raised in an already momentous game for the Nats, who are trying to avoid a fourth-straight NLDS exit.
More from the NL East:
- The Mets are beginning to conduct interviews as they search for a successor to outgoing manager Terry Collins, Marc Carig of Newsday tweets. At this point, it’s just preliminary chats with potential candidates. The first round will likely carry over into next week, though perhaps it’s also fair to wonder if the club will wait for other possible options that are currently unavailable due to postseason involvement.
- At this point, at least, the Phillies are the only other team in the division preparing to find a new skipper. Ryan Lawrence of the Philly Voice updated the situation yesterday after some interesting names were suggested as possibilities for that opening. Former Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who has since joined the Red Sox coaching staff, is not a candidate for the position, says Lawrence (who expresses not a little incredulity at the proposition). Likewise, long-time Phillies baseball man Larry Bowa — once the skipper, most recently the team’s bench coach — isn’t going to take the helm. As Lawrence notes, GM Matt Klentak has cited a desire to find “a new voice in the dugout and a new style” of manager with this hire. The team has, however, considered at least one familiar face: third-base coach Juan Samuel was first in line for preliminary interviews, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.