Stephen Strasburg to be shut down September 12
- September 3, 2012
- By Ceci Ferrara
- Sports Writer
- Sports Insider
It’s not news to anybody. Entering the 2012 season, Strasburg, his teammates, and the fans knew he had a limit. 170 innings: That is what the Washington ace was allowed to pitch in his first full season, after undergoing “Tommy John” surgery to replace a ligament in his elbow.
What they didn’t know was how well the team, usually in last place and eliminated from playoff contention by now, would play this year. That they would actually be leading their division—and at times the league—in wins.
Strasburg will make his next start on Friday against Miami (the last of the home games), and will conclude his pitching season on September 12 in New York against the Mets. No playoff baseball. No World Series start, if it comes to that.
The “shutting down” of Stephen Strasburg has been in debate for a month or two now, as his innings limit crept closer and closer. Would he still be pulled? Should he be?
Manager Mike Rizzo defends the resolution, noting that other pitchers, including one of their other top starters, have been pulled in the past: “It’s something we’ve done with six or seven guys, including Jordan Zimmerman—and we think it’s worked well.” He also went on to say that, while the decision may be difficult to understand, “it’s the right thing to do.”
There is no doubt that the Nats have attained the best record in baseball with the help of their number-one starter: Strasburg is 15-6 with a 2.94 ERA and a National League high of 195 strikeouts. While some fans, and even the man himself, may be upset, anyone can agree that it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s a consolation to know that if things don’t work out this year, they will have their star pitcher healthy and in the rotation next post-season—and for many more to come.
After all, this is the reason he’s being pulled. As Rizzo explained to the media: “The plan was in place. It couldn’t have gone any better. He has pitched extremely well. A couple more starts under his belt, it will lay a solid foundation for 2013, where he can take the ball, run with it, and win a lot of games for us.”
Even without Strasburg, the Nationals have a strong starting rotation in Jordan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler, which should take them well into October.