Tuesday’s rainout of NLDS Game 4 was seen by many as a blessing in disguise for the Nationals, as it allows the Nationals an opportunity to start Stephen Strasburg in Game 4. Tanner Roark was scheduled to start and he will start tomorrow, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.
It seems like an odd decision, but according to Baker, Strasburg is feeling “under the weather,” Muskat adds. Also, per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, Strasburg had already thrown his bullpen in anticipation of starting Thursday.
After all of that, it just seems like poor timing for the Nationals. Had the game been postponed sooner, Strasburg could’ve not thrown the bullpen and been ready to start Wednesday. Strasburg is clearly the better option over Roark. Strasburg finished the regular season 15-4 with a 2.52 ERA and a 204/47 K/BB ratio in 175 1/3 innings. Roark posted a 4.67 ERA with a 166/64 K/BB ratio in 181 1/3 innings.
Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.
This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.