WASHINGTON — The Nationals are not sure how their starting pitcher feels for tonight’s decisive Game 5 in the National League Division Series because manager Dusty Baker has not named one.
“We are going to make up our mind and see the condition of everybody,” Baker said after the Nationals 5-0 win over the Cubs in Game 4. “Whoever it is, I hope that pitch like Stras.”
Stras is Stephen Strasburg who was “feeling under the weather” before Wednesday night’s game, but then responded with 12 strikeouts in five innings. Initially Tanner Roark was named to pitch on Wednesday because of concern over Strasburg’s health.
For Thursday’s night winner-take-all encounter, the Nationals are leaving their options open and Baker said it will likely be a decision between Roark and Gio Gonzalez.
Roark is rested, but has not started in 15 days. Gonzalez would be pitching on normal rest after allowing three runs in five innings of game two.
While only one pitcher will start the game, Baker didn’t rule out the possibility of both Roark and Gonzalez pitching at some point. Pretty much everyone except for Starsburg would be available out of the bullpen for Thursday night’s game.
The Nationals are trying to win their first playoff series since 1981 when they were the Montreal Expos.
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