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October 11, 2017

Stephen Strasburg

Chicago, Illinois - postgame 4

Nationals - 5, Cubs - 0

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. When they announced that Tanner would start yesterday, did you -- were you okay with that? Were you hoping that you could still kind of like say otherwise, like this morning? What was that process all along from yesterday to when you called today?
STEPHEN STRASBURG: I think first and foremost, you know, I have full faith in Tanner. I have full faith in the 24 other guys next to me.

But I know that, you know, if I just gave it a night just to see how I'd feel; that if there was any chance, I was going to go out there. So woke up and I was like, all right, let's do it. So gave them a call and went for it.

Q. You talked before the playoffs about how excited you were to get back out there in the Postseason. Facing elimination, what is it to watch that and know you put up that kind of performance in an elimination game^ ^ ?
STEPHEN STRASBURG: I think you can put a lot into elimination games or you can choose not to. You know, you try and do your very best to keep the approach the same.

You know, I like to think that any game that I pitch is the most important game. That's just how I tried to go into Game 4, and now we get a chance for a Game 5.

Q. How many of your teammates, if any, did you hear from over the last 24 hours sending calls, texts, saying, "Hey, we need you big guy?"
STEPHEN STRASBURG: Well, after sitting in the rainout, we had to switch hotels and sit in traffic getting to the hotels last night. I think we all just kind of got in, and I went to sleep pretty quickly and gave it everything -- gave the best chance to answer the bell the next day. So was able to get in a lot of sleep.

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.

Q. As you were sitting in that bus going to the hotel, what percentage chance last night did you give yourself of being able to start this game today, just based on how you felt?
STEPHEN STRASBURG: It wasn't much to be honest. But like I said, the antibiotics that I was given didn't really kick in, and that was kind of the frustrating thing. Luckily the new antibiotics they gave me seemed to give me just enough to feel like that I could strap it on.

Q. You mentioned your teammates. You know what Michael A. Taylor has been through, the ups and downs for him over the course of his career. What do you feel for him, given what he accomplished today?
STEPHEN STRASBURG: Yeah, I mean, Mikey is such a great person. He's a great teammate and he does all the little things. He works really hard. And you know, we got drafted the same year, but he got drafted as a shortstop. So I met him pretty early on in our career.

To see him coming out a center fielder and develop and make it to the big leagues, and deal with the ups and downs, like you said, and get to this position and hit a Grand Slam like that, that's pretty cool.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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