When the Nationals head into the All-Star break this coming weekend, Stephen Strasburg will have thrown around 100 innings this season. He’s likely to throw another in the All-Star Game on Tuesday in Kansas City and, when it’s over, the Nationals will have a better idea of just how many more innings they want their ace to throw this season.
Strasburg’s innings will be capped this season, though the Nationals haven’t given a firm number that they’re sticking to. And with both Strasburg and Gonzalez expected to pitch in the All-Star Game, the Nationals are considering putting them at the back of the line in their rotation when they come out of the All-Star break.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he will be paying close attention to the workload his pitchers have in the All-Star Game and will make his decision regarding the post-break rotation accordingly.
“I’ll be watching, counting pitches, and decide on how I want to (line things up),” Johnson said.
Johnson said he generally doubles or triples whatever the workload the pitchers get in the game to account for the added energy that comes from pitching in a showcase game like the All-Star Game in front of the entire baseball world.
For both Strasburg and Gonzalez, the game would come at a convenient time for them to serve as their bullpen session between starts but Johnson said he didn’t anticipate putting either at the top of the rotation immediately after the break.
In Strasburg’s case, putting him at the end of the rotation would carry with it the added benefit of stretching him at least five days later into the 2012 season. Johnson said he planned to look at the calendar and see how far he could take him if he pitched him in the No. 5 slot in the rotation.
“(With) Stras, I may take it out further and see where that puts me if I put him at the back of the line,” Johnson said. “See where that brings him. I wouldn’t be doing it because he needs the extra rest but more to see where he ends up.”