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Nationals make Sept. 12 the Stephen Strasburg shutdown date

Sep 2, 2012, 6:13 PM EDT

Stephen Strasburg AP

Despite their placement atop the NL East standings, the Nationals announced after Sunday’s game that Stephen Strasburg will make two more starts and then get shut down for the rest of the season.

Strasburg, who struck out nine over six scoreless innings against the Cardinals on Sunday, will pitch Friday at home versus the Marlins and then on Sept. 12 on the road against the Mets before calling it a season.

The thinking prior to Opening Day was that Strasburg would be shut down after reaching 160 innings, but the Nationals have decided to let him get closer to 170 in his first year back from Tommy John surgery. He’s at 156 1/3 innings after throwing six innings today.

Strasburg currently leads the National League with 195 strikeouts and is 15-6 with a 2.94 ERA. John Lannan is expected to take his spot in the rotation. If the Nationals advance to the playoffs — they lead the Braves in the East by seven games at the moment — they’ll likely go with a top three of Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Edwin Jackson in some order, with either Ross Detwiler or Lannan in the fourth spot.

  1. pshanks62 - Sep 2, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    I would be EMBARRASSED to be a Nationals fan…this is so so so wrong, the organization and fans DESERVE to see their best pitcher in the playoffs.

    • joecool16280 - Sep 2, 2012 at 7:08 PM

      They also deserve to see him for the next 10-15 years. Wise but painful move Rizzo…took balls.

      • 12strikes - Sep 2, 2012 at 8:06 PM

        So you know for a fact that the Nitwits..Sorry Nationals will be in first place again in the next 10 to 15 years? Because right NOW your team is in first.

      • bigleagues - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:06 PM

        Joecool16280:

        Theories are nice.

        World Series Championships are better.

    • umdred11 - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:01 PM

      As an [i]actual[/i] Nationals fan, I’m not too embarrassed. It’s a tough decision for Rizzo to make but it has to be made.

      I would much rather have Strasburg for the next 10-15 years than a slightly elevated chance of going deep into the postseason this year. Remember, Strasburg in the rotation a World Series championship does not make.

      Unlike yourself and many in the country, I’ve watched the Nats since 2005 and seen this team come together well enough that I probably understand the team better than you – this is not a slight on you, I definitely wouldn’t be able to comment on your favorite team. To say Strasburg is the only reason we’re as good as we are this year isn’t giving enough credit to people like Zimmerman, Werth, Morse, Espinsa, Desmond, LaRoche, Harper, Lombardozzi, Tracy, Moore, Zimmermann, Gonzalez, Jackson, Detwiler, and just about every member of our bullpen. I didn’t purposely name almost every member of our team – I named people have had direct contributions to wins this year, either in walk-off form or in overall great performances for an extended period of time.

      The players are disappointed that it has to happen, but they understand that it’s the best not just for Strasburg but for the long term of the team. The quicker the rest of the baseball world realizes that, the better it is.

      There’s no reason for you to be embarrassed for me – every single Nats fan understands why this is happening and very few are against it.

      • umdred11 - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:03 PM

        The hell? Don’t tell me I can use HTML tags and then not let me!

      • natslady - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:10 PM

        You can. You need to use this < and not this [

        So, here are some italics. Here is some bold text.

      • bigleagues - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:12 PM

        Remember . . . Strasburg not in the rotation, a World Series Champion definitely does not make.

        I’m glad that few Nat’s fans are against this – now. All the more to commiserate with when the harsh reality of post-season participation and success sets in.

        It ain’t that easy to get there . . . and it’s even harder to win.

        What will you all be saying 5 years from now if for a myriad of reasons the Nat’s have been unable to return to the post-season?

        You get your shot, you take it.

      • bigleagues - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:14 PM

        MY lady, NatsLady teaching ‘em how it’s done with the HTML!

        I know we don’t agree on Strasburg, but we agree on good textual form :-)

      • umdred11 - Sep 3, 2012 at 1:28 AM

        bigleauges (I learned!), that’s purely conjecture. There are many WS champions that won without the best rotation.

        As for Nat’s fans being against this – they’re the overwhelming minority. However, I thank you for being our white knight in the Battle of the Shutdown, without you and your tremendous baseball and medical knowledge, Nats fans would never know what to think.

      • raffledaffle - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:53 PM

        I’m embarrassed that you are a Nats fan, is there a player on the nats roster that did not make a direct contribution lol. As for contribution no one single player impacted the Nats more than Strasburg, take away his wins, quality starts, his presents on the team, you would not be in the position your in now without strasburg. I’m sorry you been a fan since 2005 for you will not know what its like to win a world series thanks to Rizzo!!

        You know why it was a tough a decision for Rizzo because it was the wrong decision and he knows its, why not skip a few starts to have him in the post season. The time is now for you are not promised tomorrow!!

  2. lancer255 - Sep 2, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    If you have a shot to win a WS don’t you have to go for it?

    • jdouble777 - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:07 PM

      We are, that is why Strasburg will pitch 170 innings and our record is what it is and why the Gio trade took place and why Werth got a massive contract and…

  3. keithbangedyermom - Sep 2, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    Morons.

    Congratulations to all the other NL playoff teams.

    • Old Gator - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:08 AM

      No with with a trailer trash mentality handle like yours is in any position to be calling anyone else a moron.

  4. heelbostonfan - Sep 2, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    September 12 will go down in history as the Day the Nationals Threw the 2012 World Series.

  5. sleepers108 - Sep 2, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Well you would think that a Franchise that hasn’t been to the playoffs in 30 years would do whatever they can to go far into it but this just shows that they really don’t care about winning!

    • voteforno6 - Sep 2, 2012 at 8:33 PM

      It does show that they care about their players.

      • marc127 - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:54 PM

        Just not about winning a World Series.

  6. daveeproc - Sep 2, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Funny how everyone is outraged about this…except Nationals fans. Maybe that’s because without Strasburg, their staff still boasts the best rotation in the majors. Maybe it’s because he’s being replaced by a guy who has served as their opening day starter many times. Maybe it’s because Strasburg has been very inconsistent as of late. Maybe it’s because THIS YEAR, he’s the third best on the staff. If the team loses, it isn’t because Stephen Strasburg isn’t pitching. Nationals fans know it, when will the national or others catch on?

    • keithbangedyermom - Sep 2, 2012 at 7:24 PM

      WRONG – its only three people, but the three Nats fans I know personally are not at all pleased by this. It’s just stupid. Rizzo is pretending he can predict the future. There is no proof that his getting shut down is going to prevent another injury. People are irked by this because its just STUPID BASEBALL. And stop with your “third best” garbage. Strasburg is the best pitcher they have and you know it.

      • umdred11 - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:04 PM

        As a Nats fan, I can tell you that the three dozen or so Nats fans I know are fine with it – as are most of the people I talk to at the stadium.

        But I do appreciate you going to bat for our franchise – tell me, did you care about us so dearly a year ago?

        Or hell, even six months ago?

      • natslady - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:14 PM

        Yes, there are some Nats fans who argue against the shutdown. I respect their opinion, as they are, so to speak, paying customers. But as far as everyone else, BUTT out. Keep your vitriol and your bloodlust for the Red Sox.

      • keithbangedyermom - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:35 PM

        Pardon me. I was unaware that only Washinton Nationals fans could have an opinion on the matter.

      • bigleagues - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:18 PM

        Who’s Keith?

      • umdred11 - Sep 3, 2012 at 1:37 AM

        No, other people can have opinions on the matter, but I’ve never ever seen other teams’ fans so interested in another’s World Series chances.

        Regardless, I highly doubt you’re in tune with the team as Nats fans are. Granted, most Nats fans aren’t in tune with Keith’s debauchery either, but you seem to have it monopolized.

  7. broadstbully - Sep 2, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    I agree with joecool16280. Winning the WS is awesome. It’s also a crapshoot, regardless of how good your team is. It’s the right move to do what’s necessary for the future of the franchise. I tip my hat to the Nationals organization for putting themselves in position to contend for a championship for years to come. Long-suffering DC-area sports fans deserve some good fortune.

    • natslady - Sep 2, 2012 at 7:54 PM

      You are right. It’s an organizational thing. Alex Meyer (minor-league prospect) was shutdown, Lucas Giolito (just had TJ), Jordan Zimmermann, etc., all had or will have innings limits as they progress through their development as pitchers. Stras is a good pitcher. He will be a BETTER pitcher next year with maturity as well as physical development. Right now we have a Cy Young contender (Gio Gonzalez), a pitcher who until yesterday led in ERA and other stats, a pitcher who has a WS ring, a pitcher who was our opening day starter for two years, and another young power pitcher.

      Yes, having Stras improved the Nationals–he helped get us to that 99% chance we will make the playoffs. No one doubts that. We will miss him. It’s too bad his last start will be an away game. But for the sake of both his development and health, and the franchise’s future, his time is up for this year, as we always knew from February. No surprise, except the WONDERFUL surprise of likely winning 95 games instead of 85.

    • natslady - Sep 2, 2012 at 8:05 PM

      We live in a town where everyone breaks promises–except Mike Rizzo. He promised us “meaningful games in September.” He promised Strasburg’s father he would take care of his son (and the same promise to Lucas Giolito’s family). Davey said you could fire him if the team didn’t win the Division (which right now is a 95% chance). Mike Rizzo is keeping his promise.

      No one promised us a World Series.

      If you can keep your head when all about you
      Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
      If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
      But make allowance for their doubting too;

      If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
      Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
      Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
      And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

      If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
      If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
      If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
      And treat those two impostors just the same;

      If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
      Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
      Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
      And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools:

      If you can make one heap of all your winnings
      And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
      And lose, and start again at your beginnings
      And never breathe a word about your loss;

      If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
      To serve your turn long after they are gone,
      And so hold on when there is nothing in you
      Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

      If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
      Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
      If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
      If all men count with you, but none too much;

      If you can fill the unforgiving minute
      With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
      Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
      And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

      –Kipling

  8. fatboy04 - Sep 2, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    It’s good to see a team put a players health first.

  9. daveeproc - Sep 2, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    Winning the WS is a crapshoot. Your best chance to win it is to make the playoffs as many times as possible ad hope everything woks out right. By shutting down Strasburg, they are tryi to get the team to the playoffs as many times as possible. The DOCTORS have said that shutting Strasburg down is best for his long term health. The doctors know more than you or I and for people to characterize this decision as “ignorant” is disrespectful to them.

  10. natsattack - Sep 2, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    I disagree with the move, it is an inexact science, personally I would rather just not start him now and save him for the playoffs.

  11. rgledz - Sep 2, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    “The World Series is a crapshoot”……that’s the logic that you come up with?? This may be the only shot for this team to ever get to the World Series. Nothing is guaranteed, especially another run to the playoffs. Anybody could get hurt and the whole thing could crumble and this franchise is going to put everything on the back burner in hopes that they’ll be able to repeat this success. Good luck with that. If they wanted to limit his innings than this embarrassing franchise should have done a better job of managing him during the season. Skip some stars, give him extra days off, etc. That way if you make it to the playoffs you have your ace! I bet Nolan Ryan, Jack Morris, Bob Gibson…..I could go on and on…..they all have just thrown up in their mouths a little if they read this story. You play to win the game……period. Injuries are a part of sports. Deal with it.

    • keithbangedyermom - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:37 PM

      If this was 1992 and not 2012, the shutdown wouldn’t even happen. Managers and agents are obsessed with pitchcounts and workloads now.

  12. annaalamode - Sep 2, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    I am marking down Sept 13th in my calendar as the day “baseball fans stop talking about the Nats shutting Strasburg down”. I’m wondering if I have enough time to plan a party.

    • keithbangedyermom - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:38 PM

      It will be a hot topic again if they don’t win the Series.

      • annaalamode - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:58 PM

        It hurts my soul to root for a team other than the Phillies but you have convinced me to root for the Nats. This debate was interesting for the first month. In October of 2011.

    • bigleagues - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:30 PM

      I wouldn’t write that in with permanent ink, if I were you.

      All sorts of scenarios could occur between then and the end of the season . . . or in the playoffs . . . that could amplify that topic beyond anything we’ve experienced to date.

  13. neelymessier - Sep 2, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    The problem with saving hime for the playoffs is that he would have to miss 5-6 more regular season starts to keep around 160-170 innings total. So how do they pitch mim reg season? ever other start? long layoffs? then the increasing pressure where he might reach back for “something extra”? This season was intended to be full normal season as close as possible… as a prescribed pathway to pitching full seasons going forward. I love to watch him pitch. Was really sorry he was injured. Look forward to his future.

  14. leerosenthall - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    The Nats have dominated their division all season. Somebody please explain to me why they just didn’t go to a six-man rotation, or skip a few of his starts here and there, to get Strasburg and his 160 (170?) innings to the postseason. I understand they want to protect their investment (er, the kid’s arm), but why couldn’t they manage his pitch count and/or innings AND still get him to the postseason?

    There are no guarantees the Nats will make it back to the postseason and that Strasburg (or any of their best players) won’t fall to injury in the future.

    Sorry, I just don’t get it.

    • nolanwiffle - Sep 4, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      Because they wanted to dominate their division and advance to the post-season. Explained it for you.

  15. jssgriffi - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Agents are running this sport now too I guess

  16. grandpoopah - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    In order to preserve him for the future, they opt not to play him during the most critical games in franchise history. You’d think there was some guarantee that his arm will fall off the second he passes 160 innings. There isn’t. His chances of re-injuring the elbow in his next start are no greater than they were in his first start this season. If anything, the team should have held him out during the first two months of the season. Shutting him down now is incredibly boneheaded.

  17. workinthebeard - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    I’m a Nats fan. I understand Rizzo’s decision, but definitely do not agree.

    They definitely could have been creative with it in a number of ways.

    They’re going to be in the playoffs and they’re going to be without their ace. You can’t do that to yourself. You can’t assume you’re going to be in the same position to win in the playoffs next year, the year after, etc.

    WIth that said, Gio-Zimm-Jackson is still a solid 3 to take into the playoffs, with Detwiler as the 4.
    But still, going without Strasburg is a giant handicap for the Nats.

  18. skeebo80 - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    Nationals lose as soon as they get into the playoffs

  19. raysfan1 - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    Obviously, based Ono my handle, I have no real axe to grind in this other than as a baseball fain in general.

    That said, there is no science behind this decision–either for or against innings limits. I would have thought lowering the frequency of his starts and keeping him stretched out for the playoffs would have made more sense and also protected his arm.

    • raysfan1 - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:21 AM

      “Ono?!” Damn iPad fat fingering.

  20. beefytrout - Sep 3, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    As the 2011 season showed us, nothing is guaranteed and anything can happen, when it comes to who gets in the playoffs and how things turn out. To say that keeping Strasburg active would guarantee a WS berth or win is ludicrous.

    • leerosenthall - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:06 PM

      Who said anything about a “guarantee”?

      Simple question: Are the Nats better with Strasburg or without him? If the answer is “with him,” then why wouldn’t they do everything in their power to get him to the postseason, like skip some of his regular season starts or have him pitch fewer innings?

      • beefytrout - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:28 AM

        Here’s one:

        “September 12 will go down in history as the Day the Nationals Threw the 2012 World Series.”

  21. bigbruce11047 - Sep 3, 2012 at 7:27 AM

    I would shut Strasburg down now until the postseason begins. If they make it, activate him and let him pitch in the playoffs. The innings that he will put on his arm in the playoffs should not make a big difference. Remember, he has the entire offseason to rest his arm and have a rehab program he should do to strengthen the arm so that next year he’ll be stronger and a better pitcher. Maybe his command of his pitches will increase which should make him better. Again, shut him down now instead of starting him two more times against the Marlins and the Mets. That’s my opinion.

  22. jerzeegiant - Sep 3, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    Enough of this BS rationale from Nats fans…he can blow his elbow out on any pitch whether it’s may 1st on Sept 29th…shutting him down guarantees nothing! Moreover u psychologically screwed your players who can’t won’t buy this line of garbage…the league may catch up to them after this yr u can’t expect the Phillies to be this bad again the braves will improve this is just about money in the future and please the care About thev player lmao!

  23. laeaglefan - Sep 3, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Hard to believe that they’re going to sit a healthy Strasburg in the playoffs. I really hope it comes back to bite them in the butt.

  24. pshanks62 - Sep 3, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Anyone who says they’re happy with this decision is a fraud

  25. mojosmagic - Sep 3, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    As an old timer all I can say is this is the dumbest move I have ever heard of. It won’t protect him from future injury, and it is a fact that pitchers now a days don’t throw enough. Can’t imagine what it looks like in the club house.

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