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Stephen Strasburg won’t pitch in the playoffs

Aug 13, 2012, 8:22 AM EDT

Stephen Strasburg

It was reported on Friday that Stephen Strasburg‘s new innings limit for the season is 180.  Bill Ladson of has a source telling him that that is not accurate, and that there is not necessarily a magic number of innings. Rather:

The Nationals are expected to have right-hander Stephen Strasburg miss two or three regular-season starts, according to a baseball source.

Well enough. But here’s the jaw-dropper:

The same source went so far as to say Strasburg will not pitch in the postseason once he is shut down.

I’m all for taking care of your young pitching talent, but I’m sorry, I find that to be utterly mind-boggling.

One can say anything one wants about caution with respect to Strasburg’s health — and I hate to echo Jeff Francoeur’s wisdom when it comes to anything — but how do Mike Rizzo and the Nationals expect their fans to take it if, in Game 5 of the NLDS, the TBS cameras repeatedly show closeups of Strasburg sitting idly by in the dugout while Edwin Jackson gets lit up by the Cardinals or someone?

I guess they say they’re protecting their most valuable asset for a long and triumphant tomorrow. If so, they had better hope it actually comes. Because there’s certainly no guarantee of that.

138 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. natinals10 - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    I’m a huge Nationals fan and trust Rizzo. Why have doctors if you are not going to listen to them. The national media seems to have no sense of how National fans feel about this. We are okay with it and support the decision.

    • pmac9102 - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:34 AM

      So you are saying National fans are OK with mediocrity? Take it from a Phillies fan: we had a Juggernaut for 4 years, and only got one ring out of it. Never know what’s going to happen in the future. Fight for the parade now.

      • jea1978 - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:39 AM

        Us Nats aren’t okay with mediocrity, and we aren’t mediocre. We are the best team in baseball, and besides losing LaRoche and E Jax, and maybe a decrease in production from Werth, we will have the same exact team in place for at least the next three years. No reason to risk blowing out Stras right now.

      • beefytrout - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:49 AM

        I can think of several fanbases who would love to experience what it’s like to “only get one ring.”

      • willclarkgameface - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:11 AM

        Saying that you have the same team in place for the next three years is absolute ignorance. Ask Jason Werth.

    • 12strikes - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:48 AM

      @natinals10 – This mind boggling. You have a team peaking at the right time with a chance to go deep in the playoffs and you want to shut down your best pitcher, WHO IS NOT INJURED, because your worried about NEXT season? Looked what happened to the Philles… Great last season, injuries this season and in last place. You do realize that this could happen to the Nats?

      • natinals10 - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:58 AM

        We went through this last year with Jordan Zimmermann and he has the best era in the NL. We trust Rizzo what else can I say. There will be no outrage from nats fans.

      • leftydf - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:34 AM

        @natinals10–With all due respect to you and your fine young pitcher, Jordan Zimmermann is NOT leading the NL in ERA.

        That distinction belongs to the pitcher starting against Gio & your Nats tonight–Ryan Vogelsong.

        Should be a great game and series. I don’t remember ever seeing such great pitching matchups for a regular season series:

        Monday: Vogey vs. Gio
        Tuesday: Bum vs. Zimm
        Wed: Timmy vs. Stras (or Freak vs. Freak)

        (You don’t think Timmy is a good matchup? 5 of 6 quality starts since the break with an ERA in the 2s.)

      • natslady - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:24 AM

        Stephen Strasburg IS injured. That’s the whole point, he is on his REHAB. Say that 1,000 times. REHAB REHAB REHAB………… Got it, REHAB.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:26 AM

        His surgery was almost two years ago. I’m sorry, he is no longer in “rehab.”

      • keithbangedyermom - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:13 PM

        There will be no outrage from Nats fans…..until you lose in the division series.

    • CJ - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:45 AM

      this line of thinking just befuddles me…basically settling for the paper championship at a chance for next year. Granted, the Redskins have given you paper championships repeatedly over the years, so perhaps DC fans forget that they actually give out real titles in the post season?

      Having the same core for 3 years doesn’t mean a thing. Lots can change the balance of power in a division in just one year (ask the Phillies), let alone all of baseball over 3 years. You have a chance to win the world series THIS YEAR! It’s crazy to give that up.

      I don’t mean to be critical of fans of other teams but really, only a fanbase of 1) transplants, 2) used to this line of thinking 3) not used to having a winner and 4) haven’t had to go through the roughest years of this franchise up in Montreal could possible buy into this line of thinking.

      If Rizzo doesn’t have to pry the ball out of Strasburg’s cold, dead hands, I’ll lose all respect for the guy. You’re not an ace if you don’t want the ball in the post-season. There’s no science to what they’re doing here, and the lack of a firm number is further indication that it’s an arbitrary number driven more by one man’s paranoia from a horrible experience in Chicago with young pitchers, far more than it is with the current situation.

      And even if there were medical science to this, sheesh, spread out his starts and use him in the post-season for crying out loud. It’s not rocket science. They couldn’t possibly be handling this any worse.

      • jea1978 - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:09 AM

        No science? There’s no science to Tommy John Surgery recovery? What??? Come one dude, really, get in the ballpark of sanity here.

        It’s a risk either way. I’ll take the dynasty odds over the one year odds.

      • nightman13 - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:47 AM


        There is no conclusive evidence that says he should or should not go on an innings count to rehad Tommy John surgery. There are several ways to rehab it and several ways to handle the return, but by putting him on an innings count it doesn’t guarantee any future health.

      • CJ - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:50 AM

        jea…exactly what nightman said.

        Get back in the ballpark of medicinal science here…

        wait…now they haven’t won a damn thing and you’re calling it a DYNASTY!? Who are you? Michael Vick? Dc fans are more delusional than even I thought.

      • voteforno6 - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:57 AM

        I’m sure that Rizzo will have to pry the ball out of Strasburg’s hands. And he will do it, too. I think the team and the fans have seen enough of Rizzo to know that he will not back down (a point driven home by the Riggleman resignation last year). As for spreading out the starts, they tried that last year with Jordan Zimmermann last year, which led to some struggles on his part. Based on that experience, the team made the decision to keep Strasburg on a regular rotation.

        As for the fans’ attitudes, sure, we’d like to see him in the post season, but we’re okay with the decision to shut him down. Inside the stadium, this isn’t even an issue. I can only remember the topic coming up a couple of times, and only in passing. Frankly, I find it refreshing that a team is looking after the long-term interests of a player, rather than deciding to burn him out all at once.

      • cleverbob - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM

        They should shut him down for all of next season too. You know, just to be safe.

      • CJ - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:11 AM

        this whole thing is driven by Rizzo’s paranoia. Pryor and Wood’s careers were never the same due to young injuries when he was in the Cubs organization, and he’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn’t happen again, even if he’s going well beyond anything any sort of research or science proves.

        If there’s something wrong with Stras, he should’ve been shelved months ago. If there isn’t, let the man pitch. Rizzo’s gunshy, and that’s not a strength no matter how you try to frame it. It’s a weakness.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:39 AM

        this whole thing is driven by Rizzo’s paranoia. Pryor and Wood’s careers were never the same due to young injuries when he was in the Cubs organization

        Is it really paranoia if you can cite multiple cases of guys getting injured due to large amounts of innings pitched at a young age?

      • wsnydes - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:28 PM


        there are plenty of examples of young pitchers that came up young and had heavy workloads that have long and elite careers. Greg Maddox, John Smoltz, Verlander, Blylevyn, to name a few. Strasburg hasn’t even pitched in the league enough to even worry about workload. everybody’s body reacts differently. So you can’t blame Prior and Wood’s injuries on workload alone.

      • CJ - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:30 PM

        @church, if there weren’t such a small sample size in question and actual medical evidence to support it, then probably.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 13, 2012 at 1:18 PM

        there are plenty of examples of young pitchers that came up young and had heavy workloads that have long and elite careers.

        Yes, and there are plenty of guys who came up, threw a ton of innings and flamed out, Denny McClain, Fernando Valenzuela, Doc Gooden to name a couple.

        actual medical evidence to support it

        And there’s 0 medical evidence to support not using pitch counts/innings limits. We can go back and forth on this, but no one has yet to give an answer why it’s wrong to want to protect your investment (Strasburg)?

      • CJ - Aug 13, 2012 at 1:39 PM

        there’s no evidence he needs protection. can’t give you any more than that, because I can’t exactly prove a negative.

        Why aren’t the Tigers benching Verlander? Why aren’t the Nats benching Zimmerman and Gonzalez while they’re at it. Why’s Kershaw still pitching?

        He he’s healthy enough to pitch, then let him. If he isn’t, then why has he been pitching at all this year?

      • wsnydes - Aug 13, 2012 at 1:49 PM

        how did the game survive before pitch counts? nobody knows that workload had anything to do with their workload. In Doc’s case, I’m sure copious amounts of cocaine had nothing to do with his flame out either (sarcasm).

        like you said we can go back and forth on this, but everybody’s body works and holds up differently. Strasburg was babied through the minors and still had Tommy John. So how do you figure babying him now will do anything differently?

      • wsnydes - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:11 PM

        *workload had anything to do with their injuries…

        sorry for the lack of proofreading.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 14, 2012 at 1:53 PM

        Why aren’t the Tigers benching Verlander? Why aren’t the Nats benching Zimmerman and Gonzalez while they’re at it. Why’s Kershaw still pitching?

        I swear to god I’m being trolled here. For the record 103629032th time


        Verlander, Kershaw or Gonzalez all have multiple years pitching over 200IP.

      • CJ - Aug 14, 2012 at 2:57 PM

        ifso he can never pitch 200 innings becuase he hasn’t before. Got it. Thanks.

    • realitypolice - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:13 AM


    • seeinred87 - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:59 AM

      I consider myself a Nats fan (and disagree with the assertion that I’ve seen here a few times that you can’t be fans of two teams), and the main reason I became interested was Strasburg. Unless Verlander is starting too, I don’t miss one of his starts. I talk about him a lot, but I can’t help it that he’s my favorite non-Tiger to watch.

      That said, it’s absolutely the right call to shut Stras down. The effects of pitch counts/workloads/mechanics on a pitcher’s body, especially long term, still aren’t fully known. One thing that does seem to be true though is that pitching tired can significantly increase the risk for injury, as mechanics start to get sloppy.

      It’s just not something you should risk with a 24 year old flamethrower who will probably win more than 1 Cy Young in his career.

      Another thing is that the Nats said he was on an innings limit back around the beginning of the season. It doesn’t look good if they go back on that just because the team is better than expected. The innings limit was the team saying that they care about the health of their franchise pitcher, so much so that they may sacrifice a couple wins for it. They can’t turn around now and say, “Hey, Stephen, we only said that stuff before because we didn’t think we’d be in this position. Now we need you to risk your career before it’s really even begun.”

      I’m sure Strasburg would love to keep pitching through October, and would do just that if it were up to him. I’m sure the Nats would love to put him out there every 5th day through October. I’m sure the fans would love to see a few more appearances from Stras. And It’s quite possible that he’d be fine with the extra innings, that his arm wouldn’t fall off, that it wouldn’t negatively impact his career. But with someone with Strasburg’s makeup, you just can’t risk it.

    • giselleisasucubus - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      If that is how you feel, then you and anyone else who feels the same watch sports for the wrong reason. You play to win. You draft good players to win. When they are healthy, they play. So you think it is a good idea to shut down a guy that will give your team a legit chance to win? You are nuts. You never know what the future holds and their is no guarantee the Nats will be this good again. Go play fantasy and don’t root for a team because it is pointless. If this was Boston or New York, all hell would break loose, as it should in Washington.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:41 AM

        If this was Boston or New York, all hell would break loose, as it should in Washington

        Boston already did it with Buccholz (right after he threw a no-hitter too), and the Yanks put Chamberlain in the bullpen to preserve his innings count.

      • giselleisasucubus - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:32 PM

        Boston also had a loaded veteran pitching staff in 2007. It isn’t the same thing. Not even close.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 14, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        Except you didn’t say that. Your argument was, if you are healthy, you pitch. And that Boston nor NY would ever do what the Nats are doing. I gave you two examples of where they did, and after saying Bos was stacked already, you neglected to mention NY.

      • jrbdmb - Aug 15, 2012 at 5:19 PM

        And we all saw how well the “Joba Rules” worked out.

  2. aceinthehole12 - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    I’m sorry but that’s crazy. I can’t remember the last time the Expos/Nationals have been in the playoffs and you’re going to sit a 24 year old ? Who’s also your best pitcher….fans should be outraged. Team has a legit chance to win a world series and it’s going to be hard without Strasburg tossing.

  3. leeal02 - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    absolute lunacy… once Phillies retool Nats-Braves-Phils will be fighting it out for playoff spots for years to come… no guarantee they’ll ever be back

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:33 AM

      once Phillies retool

      They are a long way away from that happening though.

      • giselleisasucubus - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:36 PM

        Phillies are having a down year. I’m not a fan, but they will recover from this down year. Don’t be surprised if the Phillies win 100 games next year if Howard is back healthy.

    • kkolchak - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:42 AM

      The Phillies are a bunch of aging tools, all right.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 13, 2012 at 1:25 PM

        Who on Philly would you call a tool? Papelbon? Maybe Rollins? I make fun of the Phils a-plenty, but Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay are all A+ character guys I’d like to see do well on a personal level, and I don’t really have any problems with the other guys on the roster.

  4. stoutfiles - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    Why not bench him now so he’ll be ready for the playoffs? Why not bench him in April/May so he can be used nonstop the rest of the year?

    If you have to give your Ace an innings limit, at least work around it so he’s not on the bench in September / October.

    • southpaw2k - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      The flaw with this theory is that the Nats have to get to the postseason before they can talk about who will and won’t pitch in October. Had Strasburg not pitched in April/May, who’s to say the Nationals would still be 20 games over .500 right now and in control of the NL East? We can keep playing second-guessing games over when Rizzo should have sat Strasburg, but no one option is clearly better than others.

      And for the record, I think it’s really dumb for them to sit their best pitcher when they need him most, just like you said.

      Why hasn’t anyone suggested moving Strasburg to the bullpen as an option to use him in the playoffs?

  5. theotherfamousamos - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    I think it’s a decision that is impossible to get right no matter what the Nats decide.

    If he pitches throughout the playoffs, and is essentially ruined for the future, the Nats and Rizzo get ripped, right? But what if he pitches deep into October and the Nats win the World Series, but Strasburg is still destroyed and is never the same pitcher? Does that mean it was the right decision to sacrifice Strasburg’s career for a World Series championship?

    And there are a hundred variations on this theme: What if he pitches into late October but the Nats come up one out short of a World Series win? Was it worth it? What if he pitches only into a game 5 of the NLDS, doesn’t have his best stuff, and the Nats lose, and he is never the same after that? Was Rizzo wrong in that case to let him pitch?

    What if, as Craig says, the Nats are creamed in a decisive game while Strasburg is sitting in the dugout, but he comes back next year even stronger? But what if in 2013 and beyond, Strasburg is lights-out but the Nats don’t get all the breaks and never capitalize on their potential?

    Rizzo just can’t win.

    • wsnydes - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      i agree that this is a no win situation for Rizzo. But there aren’t any guarantees that he won’t get hurt next year even if you shut him down now. Everyone’s body is different. Those who cite Wood and Prior as examples of high innings young pitchers ignore the fact that we have no way of knowing if they would have broken down anyway. Also, you don’t hear about young pitchers with high innings that don’t get hurt.

      you have to play in the now.

  6. jea1978 - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    I am a Nats fan, season ticket holder since ’07, and I 100% agree with this. Besides losing LaRoche, E Jax, and maybe decreased production from Werth, we will be the same team for the next three years at least. We will win multiple world series, as long as don’t do something stupid and blow out Stras’ arm.

    • 12strikes - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:54 AM

      This is crazy…. You can’t predict next season. But you can see what is going on this season. You seam to think that every team in the NLEast is going to stand pat for next season. Teams re-tool in the off season.

    • stex52 - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:55 AM

      Too optimistic. Too many things can happen on the way. With just a little bit of bad luck and two or three key injuries, they may not get another chance for three or four years.

      • 18thstreet - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:25 AM

        I wish I could have a strong opinion on this; I honestly see both sides to the argument. The main reason that I would argue in favor of pitching him past the planned limits, though, is that you just can’t count on the future.

        I’m not trying to insult anyone here, but it’s the mark of an immature baseball fan to say, “We’ll have pretty much the same team next year, so we’ll still be great.” It doesn’t work that way. I remember the 2002 Angels saying, “We won the World Series, so we’re going to keep this same team together and do it again.” It just doesn’t work that way. If it did, you’d see a lot more back-to-back World Series winners.

        Bart Giamatti was right: it breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart.

    • jgreiner9 - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:01 AM

      multiple world series? you talk as if its a sure thing or an automatic. its not going to be that easy. you capitalize on your opportunities you have in front of you. I’d blame nationals management for not resting him earlier in the season, so when october comes, the best team in baseball right now has their ace pitcher when they’d need him most. strasburg is pretty much the nationals tone setter. having him set the tone for a NLDS, NLCS or even a world series is huge. not having him there creates a huge void, and while I’ll agree you have many good players, you’re essentially going to sit arguably your best player on the team in the most important time of the season.

    • kiwicricket - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:22 AM

      Has Cept’s got a cousin in DC???

    • CJ - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:51 AM

      if they pull the plug on Stras this year, I will guarantee they don’t win a WS within the next 3 years. Proves upper management has other priorities than winning now when given the opportunity to do so. They won’t do whatever it takes. They could’ve acquired another started at the deadline (Maholm, Dempster) who’s contract was done at the end of the year to spell Stras for the post season. They could’ve went to a 6 man rotation, stretched Stras as much as possible, and pulled the plug with a strong replacement when they had to.

      The Nats are a “good enough” team to garner the fans unwavering, unconditional support, and that’s “good enough” for management. The fact that you can’t even see that proves it.

      • voteforno6 - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:10 AM

        So, they could’ve done the following:

        1) Acquire a rental pitcher. Not if they’re going to have to give up prospects. They’ve already said as much. Instead, they stashed John Lannan in AAA, knowing that they would need him at some point this season (and he’s already won two games, one probably their biggest win of the year, at least so far). They were never going to find someone as good as John Lannan, for what they were willing to give up.

        2) Employ a six man rotation. They tried giving Jordan Zimmermann extra days off last year, and that threw off his routine. As a result, his performance suffered during that span. Going to a six man rotation would effectively do that for all of their pitchers.

        As for the front office’s priorities, they have been very up-front. They determined several years ago that they would rebuild the organization from the bottom-up, and do so in a way that would make them competitive over the course of several seasons. Rizzo has said that he would make trades, but only if they make sense for the long run. That’s why he was willing to trade for Gio, but not for someone like Ryan Dempster. That’s also the thinking behind shutting down Strasburg, not to mention the advice of a lot of doctors.

      • CJ - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:15 AM

        you can use a 6 man rotation without screwing up 6 starters. To even insinuate it does means you’re not understanding the concept.

        Dempster and Maholm both went fairly cheap. We’re not talking about Cliff Lee here.

      • CJ - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:17 AM

        also,, trading for a short term fix is a long term move. It justifies sparing Stras and shows baseball you’re committed to winning. That is a long term move. If you can’t see that by now, I just can’t help you. Keep attracting FAs by overpaying, and sit Stras for Lannan or “risk injury”. Seems like you’re content with that, so the Nats have you right where they want you. Go have fun.

    • daisycutter1 - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      The 2011 Boston Red Sox were hyped as possibly the best team ever assembled. A ridiculous % of baseball writers & pundits picked them before the season to go all the way. While some of that certainly was hype, on paper they still looked really damn strong.

      And, we all know how they started off the 2011 season & what happened last September.

      You NEVER EVER EVER count on winning anything, not today, not tomorrow, and especially not a year or more out. NEVER EVER EVER.

    • southpaw2k - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      Right, and in the last 20 years, do you know how many teams have won multiple World Series? Five: Blue Jays, Yankees, Marlins, Red Sox, and Cardinals. Of those, only the Blue Jays and Yankees won back to back championships. What makes you so certain that Gio Gonzalez won’t need rotator cuff surgery at some point? Or that Harper won’t rupture his Achilles?

      I know it sounds like I’m spreading bad juju on the players, but these kinds of injuries happen and no one can see them coming. The Nationals are built to compete for championships for the forseeable future, but that doesn’t mean they’re a lock to be there at the end every year.

    • mmmpierogi - Aug 13, 2012 at 6:06 PM

      “We will win multiple world series, as long as don’t do something stupid and blow out Stras’ arm.”

      Wow, so it’s really that easy, huh? Must be nice.

  7. jea1978 - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    Also I’ll say, that while I like Bill Ladson… I could really see him having this wrong.

    • kkolchak - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:44 AM

      When is Ladson ever right?

  8. dkphilly1122 - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    Pure stupidity, like the other Phillie’s fan up further said, you never know when you’ll get there again. Shut him down now, or limit his innings in his starts now just so his arm stays in form. Pitch him middle relief or something NOW to have him for the Playoffs. Church….the Phillies WILL retool and be right back in the mix next year…..a fluke season is all this year was. The Phillies have money to spend, and will. The Phillies and Braves will be battling it out next year for First again, like the past 5 years.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:15 AM

      the Phillies WILL retool and be right back in the mix next year

      With who though? Yes the Phillies pitching is great, but the offense is terrible. As of right now, the only qualified hitters who are performing better than average (based on wRC+) are Pence and Victorino. Notice a problem here?

      Push it to 300 ABs, and Carlos Ruiz and Juan Pierre (102) join the group. Can Howard rebound from multiple declining seasons? Can Utley stay healthy? Can Ruiz show this isn’t a one year fluke?

      • heyblueyoustink - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:27 AM

        I thought the team was lousy going into ’07, and then ’07 and ’08 happened. They picked Werth and Victorino off of the scrap heap, and got contributions from the unexpected.

        I remain optimistic.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:08 AM

        In ’07 the Phillies had the best offense in the NL (107 wRC, 4th overall). Of qualified hitters, they had (based on wRC+):
        Utley – 150
        Rollins – 123
        Aaron Rowand – 126
        Howard – 135
        Victorino – 106
        Pat Burrell – 132

        In ’08, they had the same 5 also over league average (of qualified hitters). People aren’t giving those Phillies teams enough credit for what they did offensively.

      • cktai - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:14 AM

        Even in 2011 the Phillies had a good offense when everyone was healthy with Utley (116), Howard (123), Victorino (135), Mayberry (133), Ruiz (108), Pence (158) and Rollins (106) all performing above average. You don’t win 102 games on pitching alone. Unfortunately it has been the staying healthy part which has proven to be a challenge.

  9. kkolchak - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    Call this the curse of rising expectations. At the beginning of the season had you told Nats fans that this would be the first team to go to the playoffs in DC since the 1933 World Series, but Stasburg would be shut down for the post season, there would have been dancing in the streets. It’s only because the team has been so much better than predicted that this issue has become so controversial.

    Whatever one thinks of the innings limit, letting him pitch the 240 or so innings it would take if they went all the way through the World Series is crazy for a guy who has never thrown more than 110 in a season and is coming off major surgery. Shutting him down for a month doesn’t help because there is no minor league season in late September for him to do a couple of warm up starts, plus that adds innings to his total at other than the Major League level.

    Ultimately, Rizzo has to answer to the Nats’ ownership as he is the steward of their massive investment in both Strasburg and the rest of the team.

  10. joshfrancis50 - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    “You don’t save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain.” – Leo Durocher

  11. thefalcon123 - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    This is flat out the most reckless, idiotic managerial decision ever made. This is the Nationals spitting on their fans, saying that the very minor unlikihood that 40 additional innings by Strausberg will be the breaking point and cause him to be injured outweighs the potential for a World Series Championship.

    Wow, this is disgusting.

    • stex52 - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:08 AM

      Falcon, I don’t know. I’ve seen a lot of idiotic decisions over the years. This may not be the worst. But I agree it is a mistake.

    • voteforno6 - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:11 AM

      The fans are okay with this decision.

      • CJ - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:12 AM

        in 3 years when you still don’t have a WS title, you won’t be.

  12. fryban - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    Look at it this way. At least he won’t be missing a lot of games.

  13. darthicarus - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    Until I see Strasburg sitting in the dugout doing crossword puzzles during a playoff game I don’t believe a word this “source” is saying.

  14. kiwicricket - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Just ask Dusty Baker what he would do, then do the complete opposite?

  15. vcupats - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    There’s only one thing left to do – win the whole effin thing.

  16. chill1184 - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    From one MLB story to another, dont you just love baseball.

  17. stairwayto7 - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    waiting for the nats to implode and lose 10 in a row and fall out of the playoff race.

  18. Stiller43 - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    Zimmerman and gio are better options as of right now anyway.

    Theyre doing the smart thing. This team is set up to win long term; theyll be back.

    I say this as someone who is a buccos fan, living in northern VA, who has always laughed at the nats failure (while recognizing my own teams failures).

  19. myopinionisrighterthanyours - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    I’m sorry. Do the Nats have no minor league? I get the shutting him down in season part. Space out his starts. Have someone come up from the minors, a la the Rays, spot start. Shut him down for all of September when you have the call ups. How can you NOT pitch one of the best pitchers in the playoffs. Nats fans who are saying you will win World Series for years to come, want to give me Wednesday’s Powerball numbers while you are at it. This is beyond moronic.

    • 18thstreet - Aug 13, 2012 at 4:12 PM

      Totally agree.

      If he’s only got X innings left, they should start with Game Seven of the World Series and count backwards. Baseball Prospectus has them with a 99 percent chance of going to the playoffs. If he needs to stay warm (or something), give him two innings every five days instead of six innings. That would be my vote.

  20. ThatGuy - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    Dumbest thing I ever heard. If your worried about his innings, you spread it out over the whole season so he is available all season. Have him skip a start every 3 weeks or something. Poor managing at best.

  21. jon3068 - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    As a Braves fan, I wholeheartedly agree with Rizzo’s decision. But I think they should take it one step further and start benching him *now*. You never know when that elbow is going to go again. 133 innings is a lot for such a valuable commodity. Next start might be the one that does it!

    Or better yet – move him into the closer’s role. Save your best arm for the most important innings!!!

    • myopinionisrighterthanyours - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      LOL. Glad to see everyone sees this dipping with sarcasm as well.

  22. sportsguygerald - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Any pitcher is just 1 pitch away from the possibility of serious arm injury, whether it’s his first inning or two hundredth. I understand the reasoning behind limiting the inning increase, but, if you get a chance to get a ring, you better grab it. You never know when opportunity will come knocking again

  23. nobody78 - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    If Strasburg wants to pitch in the playoffs, and they won’t pitch him, he should sit out next year and force the Nats to trade him. I almost always find the use of those tactics repulsive – goodness knows he is being paid an enormous sum of money for his services. But denying him the chance to pitch in the playoffs means denying him the chance to make the best use of his talent and to make his mark on baseball history.

    Honestly, I suspect this will all be moot and that, that, when it comes time to make a decision, they’ll let him pitch. I sure hope so.

  24. stlouis1baseball - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    If the Nationals make the playoffs and Stephen Strasburg is not pitching as a result of some ridiculous innings limit…Rizzo will be fired within a week. You can count on that. Wow.

    • voteforno6 - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:12 AM

      No, Rizzo has made this decision with the absolute backing of ownership. For anyone to think otherwise just doesn’t know how this team operates.

    • kkolchak - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:12 AM

      NOT! The whole reason the team is in this position is because of Rizzo. Do you REALLY think he’s making this decision without consulting with the Nats’ owners, or that they don’t appreciate finally having a winning team after seven years of utter futility?

      • stlouis1baseball - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:45 AM

        Oh I have no doubt that Ownership is aware of it.
        I also have no doubt Rizzo is going to be the fall guy should this blow up in his face.
        “Okay guys…we are in the playoffs.” “Now…let’s sit our Staff Ace (and one of the best pitchers in the game) cause’ we don’t want him throwing an additional 40 – 50 innings.”
        Yep…real winning proposition.

  25. giselleisasucubus - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Absolutely ridiculous. If I was a Nats fan, I would stop watching. Shutting down your ace for preventive measures when you are favored to win it all…wow, just awful management.

    • kkolchak - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      “If I was a Nats fan, I would stop watching.”

      Not watch the most exciting team in baseball because you disagree with a management decision? That’s because you are obviously a moron.

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