Stephen Strasburg Leads Nationals To Win After Bizarre 24-Hours

The Nationals announced Tuesday they would stay with Tanner Roark as starting pitcher over a sick but potentially available Strasburg for Game 4 of the National League Division Series which had been pushed back a day by rain, there was shock, outrage, disbelief. But on Wednesday he said he was feeling better and helped the Nationals to a 5-0 win over the Cubs. Strasburg spoke to the media and didn’t shy away from the topic.

Q. Can you just take us through the last 24 hours, and sort of what went into deciding you starting today?

STEPHEN STRASBURG: Yeah, it was a challenge. It seemed like once we got here, you know, I got hit pretty hard with this virus. You know, it just seemed to suck the life out of me every single day.

You know, they got me on antibiotics and just wasn’t really working or anything. Luckily they switched it yesterday and in just the hopes that it would kind of kick in Woke up this morning, and you know, I wouldn’t say I felt like great but, you know, I felt like I was better than what I was the day before. And so games like this, you have to go out there and give it everything you have, whatever it is.

So I called Mad Dog in the morning and said, “Just give me the ball.” That’s what he did.

Q. Once you took the mound to begin the game, did anything feel different than a normal start, either in terms of the physical element or in terms of the atmosphere or any of that?

STEPHEN STRASBURG: Yeah, I mean, I think it probably was a blessing in disguise. I think my energy wasn’t really like through the roof, so I think it was easier for me to manage it.

So you know, I just focused on one pitch at a time and going as long as I could.

Q. Kind of to follow that up, with everything said, are you kind of surprised it worked out as well for you?

STEPHEN STRASBURG: Yeah, I’m surprised I was able to hang in there. But again, I think it’s just those situations where, you know, try and break the game down, keep it simple, and just know that going in, whatever I have in the tank, I’m giving it everything I have.

You know, I really just stuck to one pitch at a time and before I knew it, it was seven innings down.

Q. During the game, in between innings, did you have to do anything treatment-wise to keep yourself going or was it kind of business as usual at that point?

STEPHEN STRASBURG: A lot of it was just trying to stay warm. You know, that was just kind of the thing I was really struggling with was temperature changes and stuff like that. Luckily they had the heaters going, but I was hanging out in the cage a lot of the game.

Q. Your changeup was working really well tonight, and you used it more often than you typically do. Was that a matter of you were really feeling it and decided to use it more than usual?

STEPHEN STRASBURG: I mean, if it’s working, you want to lean on it. Yeah, I mean, I know that it’s a pitch that’s a weapon and as long as I can get into certain situations to use it to certain guys, I know it can be effective. There was just a lot of those situations tonight.

Q. Given all the drama of the past 24 hours, did you feel you had something to prove in this game and in this start tonight?

STEPHEN STRASBURG: Not to you guys, no. No, you guys create the drama. But I know, like I said earlier, I have faith in every other guy in this clubhouse and I know the coaching staff feels the same.

So we’re in it together, and when one guy goes down, you have to trust that the other guy is going to pick up the slack.