By Paul Mancano
CHICAGO - The National League Divisional Series matchup between the Nationals and the Cubs has been nothing if not interesting. From the disappearing act of the Nationals offense to Ryan Zimmerman’s home run in Game 2 that defied gravity to the Chicago weather changing at the drop of a hat, the series resembles an amateur magic act. Then, Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the magician pulling the strings picked up a few new tricks.
Less than 24 hours after it was determined Stephen Strasburg was too sick to start the makeup of Game 4, the righty suddenly recovered. Just like that, Tanner Roark was swapped for Strasburg. The Nationals are hoping Strasburg brings the same magic to Game 4 that he did in Game 1.
Keep it here for updates throughout the game, and follow @masnNationals on Twitter.
First, let’s hear from Mike Rizzo on the Strasburg craziness:
MASN broadcaster Bob Carpenter hopped on @masnNationals to answer questions from fans. There have already been a few gems.
Milk and cookies https://t.co/xAgbLV28a8-- Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) October 11, 2017
Because you’re a pigeon. You know more about statues than I do. https://t.co/G4t70NuRDz-- Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) October 11, 2017
We’re through four innings at Wrigley Field, and the script looks a lot like the script from Game 1: Strasburg is dealing, and the Nationals offense is missing opportunities. One big difference so far: Washington has a 1-0 lead. Jon Lester has entered for the Cubs.
The weather in Chicago can be deemed less than ideal. Fifty-eight degrees feels more like 38, and the mist keeps misting.
Strasburg is through 6 scoreless on 89 pitches. He’s sick. He’s due to lead off the 7th. Up 1-0. My opinion: Hit for him, go to the pen.-- Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) October 11, 2017
Let’s check in on Dan Kolko, who’s enjoying the game from the stands.
Twelve strikeouts in seven scoreless. Onions. Double order.-- Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) October 11, 2017
Reports are a double order of onions was also Dan’s dinner tonight.
A mustache-less Nick Offerman, otherwise known as Ron Swanson from “Parks and Recreation,” sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch. Not quite Bill Murray, but it felt very American.
In the top of the eighth inning, things changed on a dime.
MICHAEL AYYYYYYY!!!! pic.twitter.com/b2ckE8ldgT-- Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) October 11, 2017
Taylor 8-for-19 lifetime with bases loaded. With two HR, 19 RBIs-- Pete Kerzel (@masnPete) October 11, 2017
On a night when it looked like no one would go yard, the Nationals got a two-out grand slam from their eight-hole hitter. The postseason is baffling and befuddling, but never boring.