Nationals announce they will start Gio Gonzalez in NLDS Game 5 vs. the Cubs

The Nationals head home for Game 5 of the NLDS against the Cubs and there was some question as to who would get the ball to start the game Thursday night. It'll be lefty Gio Gonzalez, the Nats announced Thursday afternoon. 

The other option the Nationals considered was righty Tanner Roark, who had his scheduled Game 4 start bumped thanks to the rainout on Tuesday -- clearing the path for a Herculean effort from Game 1 starter Stephen Strasburg

There were some who misguidedly thought the Nationals would start Max Scherzer in Game 5 on two days' rest. That was never happening. 

Gonzalez allowed three earned runs in five innings of Game 2 against the Cubs. He was in line for the loss until the Nationals exploded in the eighth inning to grab the W. 

Roark and Scherzer are available in relief and I'd wager Scherzer is the first man out of the bullpen to start an inning after Gonzalez. 

The Cubs counter with Game 1 starter Kyle Hendricks, who was brilliant with seven scoreless innings. Game 3 starter Jose Quintana and regular-season fifth starter John Lackey will be available out of the bullpen. 

It's an elimination game, so nearly all hands are on deck. Only Strasburg on the Nats side and Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester on the Cubs' side figure to be off the table as pitching options. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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