Jon Morosi of MLB Network just tweeted that Stephen Strasburg is now likely to pitch for the Nationals today in their Game 4 matchup with the Chicago Cubs. UPDATE: It’s official. Strasburg has the start.
If this holds, it’s certainly a reversal from yesterday, when Dusty Baker and the Nats said Strasburg was too sick to pitch. That led to a bunch of confusion, with some reporting that it was simply a matter of miscommunication and others suggesting that, in reality, Strasburg had begged out of his start.
Did Strasburg shrink from the spotlight in today’s Game 4? Was he really sick? If so, was he so sick that it was reasonable to rule him out for a Wednesday start on a Tuesday? If not, why did they do it anyway? Did Strasburg and/or the Nats get a sense of the heat they were taking over all of this and cave?
No idea. All I now is that this has been the most confusing 18 hours or so I can recall in the runup to a playoff game in some time.
The Braves and Marlins have some bad blood, especially concerning Ronald Acuña Jr. Around this time last year, José Ureña intentionally threw at Acuña in the first at-bat of a game, leading to a benches-clearing incident. Acuña was hit on the elbow and exited the game but was ultimately fine. Acuña’s crime? Just being good at baseball. At the time, he had homered in five consecutive games, including three games against the Marlins.
In 2019, the first-place Braves and last-place Marlins have mostly minded their own business. The Marlins, however, can certainly keep a grudge it appears. With his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night in Atlanta, Marlins starter Elieser Hernández hit Acuña in the hip.
Home plate umpire Alan Porter issued warnings to both dugouts. Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t happy about his side having received a warning for no reason, and was ejected by first base umpire Mark Wegner. Hernández would hit Adeiny Hechavarría with a pitch in the fourth inning — seemingly unintentionally — and was not ejected. Other than that, there were no more incidents and cooler heads prevailed.
Acuña finished 1-for-4 in the Braves’ 5-1 win. Freddie Freeman hit two home runs and knocked in four runs.