Strasburg dominant, Nats produce late to top Cards
WASHINGTON (AP) - Stephen Strasburg returned to dominant, strike-throwing form against St. Louis after struggling in his last start. According to his manager, the All-Star ace will have two more opportunities at being “vintage Strasburg” this season.
The NL East-leading Nationals took three of four from St. Louis and passed their 80-win total from last season.
Strasburg, rocked for seven runs last Tuesday at Miami, left with a 2-0 lead and a 2.94 ERA. He threw 97 pitches and wound up with a no-decision.
The 23-year-old Strasburg has struck out a league-leading 195 in 156 1-3 innings this season. The Nationals have repeatedly stated they intend on shutting him down in his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2010.
Johnson stuck with the party line after the win while providing a firmer timeline than the club has to date.
“I think two starts, unless I let him pitch 10 (innings) in the next one out, which I’m not going to do,” Johnson said. “I think his last start will be on the 12th.”
“I’m just focused on the next start,” Strasburg said. “We’re going to have a sit down and talk here soon.”
“When we feel that he’s had enough in and around that area of innings, and we take into account all the things we’ve talked about taking into account, stressful innings, pitches, and that type of thing, then we’ll make that decision and shut him down,” said Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, acknowledging he has yet to have that sit down with Strasburg.
“I don’t think he’s going to fight me on it, I think he’s going to be unhappy about it, I know he’ll be unhappy about it. He is an ultimate competitor, but we’ve taken that out of his hands,” he said. “We’ve made (a decision) five months ago and we’re going to stick to it.”
For his part Strasburg added, “I’m in with these guys. We still have a long way to go. I’m going to fight with them to the end.”