The Nationals are taking the opposite approach. Though Strasburg hasn’t thrown more than six innings in 22 of his 27 starts and has only 156 1-3 innings on the year, he won’t be around for the postseason.
That was the plan going into the season, and Rizzo isn’t about to change it now, even with the surprising success of the team. It’s based at least partly on how the team has handled other pitchers, including Jordan Zimmermann, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009 and is now second to Strasburg in ERA among Washington’s starters.
It’s worked, but that doesn’t mean other plans wouldn’t work, too. Again, the motives might be admirable, but it’s unfathomable that some other tactics were used to make sure the best pitcher on the best team Washington has ever had would be available to pitch in the playoffs.
The subject of the shutdown is one Strasburg has tried to avoid all season, claiming he had no knowledge of the team’s plans. He was still trying after Sunday’s game, though the secret was out.
“I just don’t have anything to say,” Strasburg said. “I’m in with these guys. We still have a long way to go. I’m going to fight with them to the end”
Unfortunately for both Washington fans and Strasburg, he’ll have to do his fighting from a seat in the dugout.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
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