SAN FRANCISCO -- Before the start of Game 4 of the National League Division Series, Nationals manager Matt Williams announced that the majority of the pitching staff was available against the Giants on Tuesday, including right-hander Stephen Strasburg. The all-hands-on-deck approach was the reason Williams had not officially named his Game 5 starter (Thursday, 8:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, if necessary).
Williams also said right-hander Jordan Zimmermann would only pitch in Game 4 in an extreme emergency, which could be seen as an indication that Zimmermann would likely be Washington's starter for a Game 5 played at Nationals Park. Zimmermann allowed a run in 8 2/3 innings in a no-decision in Game 2 in the Nationals' 2-1 loss in 18 innings.
Williams said Strasburg was available to come in as a long reliever or come in late in the game. Strasburg has never pitched as a reliever during his four-plus years in the big leagues.
"If, for some reason, something goes haywire -- Gio [Gonzalez] gets hit with a ball or something, you never know what can happen -- then Stephen could be available for that," Williams said. "He could be available late. He could be available if we get into a situation like we got into in Game 2, where we play extra innings. The game will present how we go and what we do. But he's available for all of those [situations]."
Williams said Strasburg knows he could be called upon in Game 4.
"You talk to them and let them know exactly what the situation is and what the potentials are," Williams said. "They know their bodies and their routines better than anybody else does. If he's got a chance to pitch tonight, then he'll approach it differently than if he wasn't going to pitch tonight. You know, working out and doing all the things that he would normally do today, as an example, will be different."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.