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Stephen Strasburg pitched in the eighth inning last night for the first time in his career

May 17, 2013, 10:15 AM EDT

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It took four seasons and 54 starts, but Stephen Strasburg finally threw a pitch in the eighth inning last night. And it came against his hometown Padres, in San Diego, where he dominated as a college star at San Diego State.

Prior to tossing eight innings of two-run ball versus the Padres he’d never worked past the seventh inning, but manager Davey Johnson let Strasburg throw 117 pitches. That’s actually not a career-high, as Strasburg threw 119 pitches in a six-inning outing against the Red Sox in June of last season.

Strasburg had gone seven innings in a start 10 times before last night, but never was allowed to begin the eighth inning despite seven of those starts involving fewer than 100 pitches and three of them involving fewer than 90 pitches.

It’s safe to say that any development-based and/or post-Tommy John surgery limitations have been lifted and Strasburg is now just a normal pitcher (at least in terms of workload). Up next on the agenda: His first complete game.

  1. stlouis1baseball - May 17, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    Hip…Hip…Hooray!

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 17, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    I wonder if this is true. The Nats still babied Zimmermann last season, when he was two years removed from TJS as Strasburg is now. I have been looking at their handling of Zimmermann as the philosophical blueprint for their handling of Stras, and they have seemed to be on the same plan. Zim was successful, so maybe they feel they can push the envelope a bit on Stras, but given thier investment in him and their dynamite bullpen, I don’t see the need to tempt fate.

    • natslady - May 17, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      Agree. I don’t think the wraps are completely off Stras, and it seems it really takes that extra year to fully recover from surgery. Consider Wainwright, who was a mature, rather than a developing pitcher. He was good last year, but he’s better this year (IMO).

    • recoveringcubsfan - May 17, 2013 at 10:50 AM

      Well, SWBGITET, this year has already seen Davey Johnson, the world’s best-paid coma patient, pull Strasburg and Gio at around 85 pitches (and for Gio, in a game where he was winning and then the BP blew it), because he apparently believes there is some law that says his starters cannot pitch past the 7th inning. In other words, Davey’s beliefs are the story as it relates to the pitching staff, not the “rehab plan” that may or may not exist. And without a lefty reliever in the ‘pen, the Nats are playing one-handed there, literally. Zach Duke is a sentient “L” so the more Johnson can get from his 5 great SPs, the better the results will be for the team. Given how random his decisions with regards to pulling his starters have been, though, I foresee this team wearing out its bullpen and living or dying based on a few key injuries.

      • natslady - May 17, 2013 at 12:02 PM

        Pulling Gio really got me! I’m still mad about that. Stras, OK, maybe, it was Opening Day, lot of ceremonies and stuff, Stras was iffy in spring training, not the worst thing. But Gio???? Not to trust Gio with a 1-0 lead when he was dealing and had had a good start just prior??? In favor of sticking in a pinch-hitter who just yesterday got his second hit (a bloop single that should have been caught). Don’t get me started. Oh, you did get me started. Thanks a lot.

    • Kevin Gillman - May 17, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      The ace of the staff needs to show he can go deep, I am not saying CG every time, or even CG double digits. But if the guy is cruising, say throwing 102 pitches after 8, then why not use him in the 9th, and save the bullpen?

      • natslady - May 17, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        In that case, maybe you change the name of the ace of the staff from Stephen Strasburg to Jordan Zimmermann?

      • Kevin Gillman - May 17, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        Probably so, Jordan right now is more reliable to give his team innings, and defines what ace means right now.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 17, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        I am with you, but that manager will get a post like the one about Yu Darvish last night. Strasburg is a bit different though, given his age, value to the club going forward and that he is just 2 years removed from elbow reconstruction. I would be more inclined to be cautious with him for one more season before really turning him loose on the league.

      • Kevin Gillman - May 17, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        Even before his injury, they never treated him like an ace, despite his salary. And I think the salalry has hurt his worth more so, because of the few innings he has pitched when healthy.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 17, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        Before his injury he was a 21 year old rookie less than a year out of college, on a terrible Nats team and expected to lead them to glory for eternity thereafter. I hope they would use some caution in the scenario.

      • Kevin Gillman - May 17, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        But not even go through 7? I think ultimately his amount of salary is hurting him, because if a pitcher gets paid that much money, they should show he can pitch like an ace. And I understand holding him back last year, though I do believe they could have easily skipped Strasburg’s turn a few times to ensure he pitches in October, where it matters. There is still that what if value on him right now.

  3. temporarilyexiled - May 17, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    This is why your breakfast choices should never go beyond chip beef and scotch.

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