NLDS Game 4 lineups: Nats at Cubs (Strasburg to start)

CHICAGO - As if this National League Division Series wasn't already dramatic enough, how about this: Stephen Strasburg will start Game 4 for the Nationals after all.

Strasburg-Gray-Mets-Sidebar.jpgSome 18 hours after announcing Strasburg wouldn't be able to pitch this elimination game against the Cubs because he was ill, the Nationals reversed course and named the right-hander as their starter. Strasburg, according to a source familiar with the decision, informed the club this morning he was feeling better and wanted to pitch. Nats general manager Mike Rizzo, manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Mike Maddux then convened and decided to let him do it rather than start Tanner Roark as planned.

Who knows what can be expected of Strasburg today, but he'll be facing not only the Cubs lineup but also some miserable weather conditions while not feeling 100 percent healthy. The rain that washed out yesterday's game is finally dying down, but it's cold and there's a fierce wind blowing straight in from center field. Suffice it to say, it's not pleasant out there.

All of the pitching drama, of course, means nothing if the Nationals can't solve their biggest problem in this series and actually start scoring runs. Baker is sticking with the lineup he intended to use yesterday (with Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon in the second through sixth spots) and hoping that does the trick against Jake Arrieta, who Chicago manager Joe Maddon has kept as his Game 4 starter throughout this whole ordeal.

What happens now? Who knows? No matter what, though, it's going to have long-lasting ramifications for the Nationals, who when you really boil it down have only one thing in mind today: extend their season another day.

Where: Wrigley Field
Gametime: 4:08 p.m. EDT
Radio: 106.7 FM, ESPN Radio, XM 184/869,
Weather: Overcast, 60 degrees, wind 15 mph in from center field

SS Trea Turner
LF Jayson Werth
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
2B Daniel Murphy
3B Anthony Rendon
C Matt Wieters
CF Michael A. Taylor
RHP Stephen Strasburg

CF Jon Jay
3B Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
C Willson Contreras
LF Ben Zobrist
SS Addison Russell
RF Jayson Heyward
2B Javier Báez
RHP Jake Arrieta

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