The villainous Chicago mold …
Although the Nationals were gifted a delay in the start of Game Four of the NLDS such that they could skip their fourth starter, Tanner Roark, in favor of their Game One starter, Stephen Strasburg, they say that isn’t going to happen:
Stephen Strasburg is not available for Game 4. Every other pitcher on the staff will be. https://t.co/adG55cSt1k
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) October 11, 2017
What is going on?
Well, as Dusty Baker put it, in perhaps the most confusing fashion possible: “A lot of my team is under the weather with the change of weather and the air conditioning in the hotel and the air conditioning here. It’s just this time of the year for mold around Chicago — I think it’s mold. I mean, I have it, too.”
The Nationals apparently made a collective decision yesterday that Strasburg’s endurance was too down in his most recent bullpen session, which Dusty Baker originally said was yesterday, but the team later said was actually on Monday. Had his bullpen been on Tuesday, that would have been utterly crazy, because you wouldn’t have a guy throw a full bullpen if there was a chance you might want him the next day for a makeup game (the conspiracy theorists among you might say the Nats did exactly that, realized how badly they screwed up, and now have concocted the mold explanation).
Tanner Roark, the Nats have determined, gives them the best chance to win today. Stephen Strasburg will be held back for a possible Game Five.
So, do we buy it? Are the Nationals going to pull a fast one and bring in Strasburg after the second inning or something? It’s certainly possible, though it would be among the more brazen lies I can recall in recent sports history. That doesn’t rule it out, but I’m more inclined to think there’s something else strange going on.
For now, all we can say is, if Roark does pitch and get knocked around, today’s game will forever be known as The Mold Game.