Chicago weather playing a big role in NLDS

Thursday, 12 October 2017, 05:58:20 PM. Now Dusty Baker is manager of the Natinals, and the Chicago weather may be lucky for the Cubs once again.

Back in the spring of 2005, manager was looking forward to getting back to Chicago for the home opener.

“One thing I've figured out is I've never seen the speed of photosynthesis that can happen there,” he said. “There can be no leaves on the trees, no ivy on the wall, and then we come back in two weeks and there's green everywhere.

“It's pretty remarkable, and it's remarkable how it rains at night a lot and rarely rains in the day. We've been pretty lucky on the weather."

Now Baker is manager of , and the Chicago weather may be lucky for the Cubs once again.

Baker said the change of weather, from unusually hot during Monday’s Game 1 loss to typically rainy and gloomy on Tuesday, and the Chicago mold contributed to making pitcher and a lot of his players sick.

Strasburg reportedly begged out of starting Game 4 this afternoon at , setting up a big debate over whether he lacks intestinal fortitude.

But apparently he changed his tune on Wednesday, after being ripped on the media and Twitter, and is now expected to start.

Baker will address the media before Game 4, and may be able to shed some light on Strasburg’s condition. 

Not to defend Strasburg, who can pay his agent, Scott Boras, to release a 50-page report on the effects of Chicago mold on sinuses, but there is a possibility he could indeed be feeling lousy because of our sudden change in weather and the mold count.

According to @gottlieballergy, which tweets out allergen counts in the Chicago area from April through October, the mold count on Monday was “very high” at 58,434 spores. On Tuesday it was listed as “high: at 37,124 spores. This morning's reading is still listed as “high” at 16,062 spores.

I have no clue what that those spore readings actually means, but it sounds ominous. Surely one of the Cubs’ “geek squad” will turn it into data and send Theo Epstein an analysis.

Suffice to say Strasburg and Co. could be victims of the dreaded “gunk,” an all-purpose condition which affects Chicagoans of every age during allergy season.

The Strasburg controversy has made an interesting series that much better.

Don't forget, Baker’s 2003 season in Chicago ended in Game 7 of the season at Wrigley on a chilly, gloomy night. His 2017 season with the Nats could end in similar conditions this afternoon.

If not, the Nats expect Strasburg to recover enough to start in Game 5 in Washington on Thursday night. The Cubs would then be on the defensive, facing a pitcher who dominated them in a losing effort in Game 1.

Ironically, the unpredictable Chicago weather always seemed to fascinate Baker when he managed here, whether it was too hot or too cold or too windy.

Before his first game managing at Wrigley was snowed out in 2003, Baker was walking around the concourse when he thought he stepped on something.

“I didn't know what that crunchy stuff was when I was walking down the hall,” he later said.

The reporters explained to Baker that “crunchy stuff” was salt that the grounds crew spread to melt the snow.

At least the Nats don't have to worry about that today.

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