Gonzalez will pitch on regular rest after starting Game 2 on Saturday, when he allowed three earned runs in five innings of a 6-3 Nationals win. He’ll be facing Kyle Hendricks, who started and won Game 1 after pitching seven scoreless innings.
The winner of Game 5 advances to face the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series presented by Camping World.
This will be Gonzalez’s third career start with the Nationals facing postseason elimination. He previously started Game 5 against the Cardinals in 2012 and Game 4 vs. the Giants in ’14. Washington lost both games, with Gonzalez pitching a combined nine innings and allowing five runs (three earned).
The Nationals’ other Game 5 option was Tanner Roark, who was slated to start Game 4 until the game was delayed from Tuesday to Wednesday due to rain. While Roark was initially announced to get the start Wednesday anyway due to Stephen Strasburg‘s illness, Strasburg recuperated and pitched a gem to force the winner-take-all contest.
Leading up to Game 4, manager Dusty Baker indicated on Wednesday that Max Scherzer would have been available on one day’s rest for an inning of relief. With Scherzer not needed after Strasburg dominated the Cubs on Wednesday, the NL Cy Young Award candidate should be available out of the ‘pen in Game 5 for a multi-inning stint on two days’ rest. As far as the rest of the relief corps, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle each pitched an inning on Wednesday, while Brandon Kintzler, who last appeared Monday for 1 1/3 innings, did not pitch and should be well-rested.
Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.