Call it smart. Call it dumb. But whatever you want to call it, there’s no denying it’s a ballsy move. The surging Washington Nationals stand by their word and do what many considered to be unfathomably stupid and shut down their ace Stephen Strasburg for the rest of the 2012 season.
Not only are they shutting him down to the dismay of their expanded fan base, but they’re shutting him down a game early (if that adds insult to injury) after a rough outting against the Miami Marlins where he gave up 5 earned runs. No doubt the stress of the impending decision got to Strasburg as he put forth his worse performance of the year, which also turned out to be his last. Strasburg has pitched in 159 and 1/3 innings and has just a 3.14 ERA, but GM Mike Rizzo decided to push the brakes early and have Strasburg be a spectator for the 24 regular season games left and post season.
I’ve been one of the many vocal fans of the game speaking against the Nationals decision to handle Strasburg with kid gloves, but they’ve stuck to their logic, as flawed as it may or may not be. The Nationals have an 85-53 record and are poised to win over 95 games with or without Strasburg. But as we well know there’s a big difference between beating up on bottom barrel teams in your own division and playing in a playoff game–an experience the Nationals are new to. Risky move to pull out Strasburg instead of just resting him early once the Nats started to break away from everyone else. For now the best thing to do is to be patient and see how they fare without Strasburg and if they continue to flourish tip your cap to the Nationals’ front office.