Nationals Reverse Course: Stephen Strasburg Will Start Game 4

(CBS) His competitiveness and will to win questioned by outsiders overnight and into the morning after the initial announcement Tuesday evening that he was too ill to pitch Wednesday, Nationals ace right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the ball in the elimination game after all.

The Nationals will start Game 4 of the National League Division Series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, according to the lineup card they submitted about three-and-a-half hours before the 3:08 p.m. first pitch. Chicago leads the series 2-1 and can advance to the NL Championship Series with a win.

The Nationals originally said Strasburg was unavailable for Game 4, despite him having full rest, because he was “under the weather,” as manager Dusty Baker said. Baker then cited the Chicago weather, the hotel air conditioning and “mold” in the air as reasons for why Strasburg and several other Nationals have been ill.

Scott Boras, Strasburg’s agent, indicated his health is improved from Tuesday.

Strasburg took the loss in Game 1 but was brilliant, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He threw seven innings, allowing two unearned runs on three hits and one walk while striking out 10.

The Nationals’ other choice was to turn to No. 4 starter Tanner Roark, who went 13-11 with a 4.67 ERA this season. Strasburg (15-4, 2.52 ERA) was the best pitcher in baseball after the All-Star break, with a 6-1 mark and 0.86 ERA in 10 starts.

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