Just to button things up on this insane, moldy drama about the Nationals’ starting pitcher today.
Here’s the team’s GM explaining how it all went down:
Here's Mike Rizzo's complete answer explaining the events of the past 18 hours regarding the Nationals' Game 4 starter: pic.twitter.com/Au0FETRuYb
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) October 11, 2017
Is that all perfectly plausible? Sure. It doesn’t explain the confusion about which day he threw his bullpen, though (if it was that dramatic on Monday, how on earth did Dusty Baker confuse it for yesterday?). It also doesn’t explain why the Nats were so aggressively medicating Strasburg if they were ready to go with Roark.
There’s also this floating out there:
Recently retired big league pitcher just texted me with the following on Strasburg: "Everybody shamed him into starting."
— Pedro Gomez (@pedrogomezESPN) October 11, 2017
Best guess? The vast majority of the Nationals’ official story is true. The part they’re yada-yada’ing over is the pressure Strasburg probably got from everyone to get himself ready to go today. Then it’s presented as “he feels fine, this was his decision,” because no one in that organization wanted to go through an offseason of questions if they’d lost Game Four when their best available starting pitcher passed on the ball.
So does that mean Strasburg is not at 100%? Probably. Does that mean he won’t still pitch very well? Not necessarily. He’s very good, and modern medicine is incredible.
The part you’d be looking for is whether he fatigues more quickly than usual, in which case you’d love to see the Cubs take advantage of some fat pitches in the 2nd/3rd/4th innings before he’s yanked.
Of course, he may well go nine full innings of dominance, and this will become some kind of D.C. Michael Jordan story with the Cubs looking like chumps who were beaten by a guy on his death bed.
And if *that* happens, Cubs fans will always wonder just how sick Strasburg ever really was …