The Washington Times - June 13, 2012, 10:05AM

TORONTO — As Stephen Strasburg’s pitch count ventured ever upward last Friday night, he breezed past his personal high in pitches, set earlier this season, and firmly planted a new stake at 119 pitches. 

So the question had to be asked: For a pitcher whose every movement on the mound is monitored, would his next start, which happens this afternoon at the Rogers Centre, be handled any differently after such a “heavy workload” in his previous outing?


“I don’t consider 119 pitches a heavy workload,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “That generally is a number I don’t like to often go too far over. Nowadays we’re thinking 100 is more (the benchmark) and I go along with that… But I’ve found 115-120 is not a heavy workload.”

Johnson did give himself one out. If, like any other day, he feels Strasburg is struggling, he won’t hesitate to let that change his plans.

“Depending on how he’s throwing, if he’s laboring and he’s leaving the ball up, I might hold him to a lower number,” Johnson said.

Strasburg will go into today’s start with 71 innings under his belt this season. The Nationals have been vague throughout on what the precise final tally will be on his innings this season, saying only that there will be a limit, but somewhere around 160 is a fair estimation. That means he’s nearing the half-way point of his season.

If he were to make the All-Star game (and he is on schedule to pitch), Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said Tuesday the team would certainly allow him to do so. That one inning (which is generally all pitchers throw in the All-Star game) would then be included in his total. 

But before we get too far ahead of things, here are today’s lineups as the Nationals attempt to finish a road trip 6-0 for the first time, well, ever.


Steve Lombardozzi LF
Bryce Harper RF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Michael Morse DH
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Tyler Moore 1B
Rick Ankiel CF
Jesus Flores C
— Stephen Strasburg P 

Blue Jays

Brett Lawrie 3B
Colby Rasmus CF
Jose Bautista RF
Edwin Encarnacion 1B
David Cooper 1B
Yunel Escobar SS
Kelly Johnson 2B
J.P Arencibia C
Rajai Davis LF
— Kyle Drabek