Gio Gonzalez is taking the mound tonight in the nation’s capital where the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs will decide their NLDS matchup.
Dusty Baker wasn’t ready to name his Game 5 starter in the immediate aftermath of last night’s season-saving 5-0 win in Chicago. Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon, on the other hand, had his plan pretty much set from what he told reporters after the defending World Series champs failed to end the NLDS in Wrigley Field.
Maddon said he would take a similar approach to what he did in Game 4, with Jake Arrieta starting and Jon Lester coming on in relief and eating up the middle innings.
“Well, you've got obviously starting, Kyle [Hendricks],” Maddon explained, “and then [Jose] Quintana will play the role of Jon Lester tomorrow if it's necessary. We talked about that pregame; if, in fact, it was really close which it was. That was a good spot for Lester tonight and then tomorrow, just everybody's available tomorrow.
“So it will start with Kyle, and Q is ready tomorrow to back up like Jon did tonight and the entire bullpen. We'll be fine tomorrow.”
“We're not sure yet,” Baker said when asked for his own plans. “So we're trying to -- we're going to make up our mind, see the condition of everybody and like I said, I'm not sure.
“I'm not trying to be coy at all because that was the theme of the day, you know, with [Stephen Strasburg].
“You know, whoever it is, I hope they pitch like Stras did today.”
Reporters noted that obviously Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark were the likely options to start.
“Yeah. I would venture to say, yeah, Tanner or Gio, or both,” Baker acknowledged.
Roark, who was announced as the Game 4 starter before Strasburg decided he could go and tossed seven scoreless in a dominant outing, finished the regular season (13-11), with a 4.67 ERA, 4.13 FIP, 3.18 BB/9, 8.24 K/9, and a .251/.321/.405 line against in 175 1⁄3 IP as a starter.
Gonzalez, who gave up three hits, two walks, and three earned runs in five innings in Game 2 against the Cubs, has never made it past five innings in any of his five career postseason outings, so either way, the Nationals will have all hands on deck... on the mound.
But the Nats announced this afternoon that it will be Gonzalez getting the nod for his second start of the series, though Roark will likely be ready to go when/if he’s needed.